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ENGL101A Poetry Notes.docx

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University of Waterloo
Kate Lawson

- simile: comparison; uses “like” or “as” - metaphor: comparison; stronger than similes - New Criticism: intentional fallacy (poet gets the last word as to the meaning) - Apostrophe: elevated address to someone - end-stopped line: lines with commas (periods at the end) - enjambment: lines that continue to the next - asyndeton: when connecting words are left out - constative language: describes the way things are (i.e. we got married last week) - performative language: performing something with words (i.e. I said “I do”) - metaphor – 2 levels: tenor / vehicle  tenor is the literal, vehicle is the object/thing that carries the meaning of the literal word - zeugma  a word governs two different perspectives (i.e. blow your nose, blow your mind) Allegory - An allegory is a narrative, whether in prose or verse, in which the agents and actions, and sometimes the setting as well, are contrived by the author to make coherent sense on the “literal” or primary level of signification, and at the same time to communicate a second, correlated order of signification. - Examples of allegory include parables and fables. - There are two main types of allegory: - 1. Historical or political - 2. Allegory of ideas, in which the literal characters represent concepts and the plot allegorizes an abstract doctrine or thesis.Acentral device is personification of abstract entities such as virtues, vices, states of mind, modes of life, and types of character. ANIMAL POETRY E.J. Pratt – The Shark (p. 35) - distinguishing features: triangle fin, ease of moving through the water, teeth - both humans and sharks feel confident that the harbour is theirs (sharks = confident in ability to protect themselves, and they know the space; humans = confident it is safe, unaware of presence of sharks) - simile: his fine, like a piece of sheet-iron - all the metaphors in the poem add up to the idea of a non-flesh body (more like a metallic body) - description of eyes suggest that the shark is devoid of emotion - last 2 lines, especially the word cold makes the poem scarier, even though it’s not new information (cold-blooded killer) o or, it might be reminding us that the shark is still a creature, not just a robot, and we just don’t understand it because we are nothing like it E.J. Pratt – The Prize Cat (p. 397) - gads = claws - huge differences between wild leopards and domesticated cats  wildness of leopard has been tames over time, and with human influence - optic parallels: cats have good eyesight; alluding to Blake’s “The Tiger” - when cats catch birds: “all the generations pass”  everything was undone, and this cat is wild again - leopards hunted kids, now cats hunt birds - may be a metaphor for humans  humans can’t get away from our basic desires: we seem domesticated, but we can lash out when least expected The Bull Moose – Alden Nowlan (p. 741) - demeaning to the moose - cattle move away because they sense death - thistle hat  crown of thorns on Christ (perhaps) - scaffolded king  king submitting to execution, gathering his strength (not allowing himself to be demeaned by these humans) - we gain more knowledge about humans than moose Hawk Roosting – Ted Hughes - some think that this poem means that Hughes is a Fascist (because of the hawk’s lust for killing) - celebration of raw power Pike – Ted Hughes - different from the hawk: not as intelligent of a killer, just a vicious killer (shown through the lack of first person) - enduring killing personality of pike  shown through the growth of the pike - growth also makes the reader feel vulnerable/scared (because at the end the pike is huge) - somewhat difficult to relate to the man in the poem, because he bred the pike to start off with - end of poem: creating a very sinister environment – much scarier/most sinister connotations than the hawk – like a horror movie The Animals in that Country – Margaret Atwood - fox: England. Ritual of hunting a fox with hounds – depicted in the poem as a “polite” ritual - bull-fighting: Spain/Portugal - wolves: possibly Rome - cats: Egypt - “that country”: the Old World. Animals are respected. - “this country”: new world. Animals were thought to be obstacles to safety when people first settled. Ode to a Nightingale – John Keats - solution to human pain is to metaphorically join the world of the nightingale The Darkling Thrush – Thomas Hardy - everything is desolate, dead, depressing (first couple of stanzas) - haunting image of land being a corpse and the air being the death song - is there hope for a new birth in the New Country? - The bird (thrush) found reason to continue flying despite the gloom  attempt to shift reality around him SONNETS - compact - self-contained (must be 14 lines), yet flexible - disciplined form of self-analysis – expression within the self - formalizes (distances) emotions felt by speaker - a lyric poem of 14 rhyming lines of equal length - typically in English poetry iambic pentameter - Iamb: type of “foot”; that is, the basic metrical unit in poetry; an iamb is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable - Pentameter: 5 feet - Lyric Poetry: a brief poem that expresses the intense personal emotions and thoughts of a single speaker. Although uttered in the first person, the speaker should not automatically be assumed to be the poet. Forms of lyrical poetry include the dramatic monologue, the elegy, haiku, the ode, and the sonnet. Shakespearean/English Sonnet - three quatrains: rhyming abab cdcd efef, then a couplet: rhyming gg - quatrain: 4 line stanza or unit of poetry - couplet: 2 lines of rhymed verse - Volta: a “turn” in the argument or mood of the poem Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnet - octave/octet (8 lines) – two quatrains: abba abba, then a sestet (6 lines): cdecde or cdcdcd - Petrarch: idealized love for a beautiful woman - Have conceit: unusually far-fetched/elaborate metaphor/simile presenting a surprisingly apt parallel between two apparently dissimilar things/feelings Sonnet 73 – William Shakespeare (p. 19) - first line of all quatrains have the words “in me”  speaker is addressing his beloved, who sees something in the speaker (“in me”) - first quatrain: speaking of time of year (autumn) – focusing on negative aspects – a place of loss/fading/possibly death - second quatrain: time of day (evening) – building of metaphors – beloved sees a diminishing sense of self – blackness is overtaking the speaker - third quatrain: fire glows on the ashes of youth – ashes will consume the life that was once nourished - a poem of increasing bleakness, but couplet says that with increasing age, love grows as well, because the beloved knows that the speaker will soon die - the colour becomes more vibrant through each stanza: yellow leaves, brighter yellow/orange sunset, roaring yellow/orange fire Sonnet 129 – William Shakespeare (p. 20) - first quatrain: speaker convinces us that lust is bad - second quatrain: lust drives us wild, like wild animals; lust is enjoyed for only a short while, then you hate it. Metaphor theme: hunting. Still a fairly negative portrayal of lust. - Third quatrain: lust is getting more attractive. Sense of bliss/joy is achieved through lust. A dream. Speaker is acknowledging that lust is an experience to be enjoyed. - Couplet: we know the bad things of lust, but we can’t find a way to avoid it Sonnet 130 – William Shakespeare (p. 21) - demolishes each Petrarchan conceit - still portrays that his beloved is still great, because he’s in love with a normal woman, and his love is rare because he is not making false comparisons (i.e. Petrarchan conceits) - Look at ordinary women – she is a real woman, and that is what he appreciates about her From “Holy Sonnets” – John Donne (p. 29) Sonnet X - death should not be proud because death is a slave, because people choose to die. Death isn’t in charge - Death is like an over-glorified nap - When we die, we will be resurrected, but death will not, so death will be the one to die Sonnet XIV - contradictions of what he wants God to do and what God is actually doing - God must be forceful because Donne is such a sinful speaker - God has implanted reason in bus, but even reason isn’t helping Donne know what to do - Wants God to love him too, but he is married to the Devil – divorce and free him from the Devil (sin)  only in being in prison can he ever truly be free Oxymandias – Percy Bysshe Shelley (p. 188) - irony: everything has been destroyed, so taking about his works is useless (nothing is left) - setting = Egypt - fall of the high and mighty  cautionary tale of those who are on top now, and that they will soon be on the bottom - found a statue half sunk in the sand, with an arrogant, conceited face - “the hand that mocked them, the heart that fed them”  “them” refers to passions; mock = imitate - art is more powerful than political power (one of the messages of the poem) Sonnet: England in 1819 – Percy Bysshe Shelley (p. 191) - everything bad about England in 1819 - sonnets can be easily used to discuss and analyze political questions Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Sonnet (from The House of Life) (p. 296) - a sonnet in a way of saving a person’s thoughts/memories that would otherwise be lost after the poet’s death - must be faithful to the words you’re writing, because it can’t be changed no matter how much time has passed once it has been put in something as permanent as stone  stay true to what you mean The Silken Tent – Robert Frost (p. 385) - woman has many men after her (the ropes), and she is bound to none - she only realizes that she is bound to one when he gets a little bit uptight - we are all tied to many people (they all provide support), but the poem implies that they are creating bondage – you are not aware of it until someone pulls on one of the ropes (last 3 lines) - people tied to you by love and thought also bind you and hold you uncomfortably at times (i.e. when friends ask you for help) I, Being Born a Woman and Distressed – Edna St. Vincent Millay (handout) - propinquity = nearness - she finds him attractive, and he’s nearby, but her mind is clouded so she doesn’t actually like him that much - woman = undone, possessed  had sex with a man, we try to build up self-image and he tore it down - she doesn’t want it to continue – no interest in talking with him again - no embarrassment, but she knows she shouldn’t have done it Butterfly Bones (Sonnet Against Sonnets) – Margaret Avison (p. 608) - butterflies don’t have bones ▯ no strength - butterflies = fragility - butterfly bones, sonnet against sonnets  a contradiction, a paradox, oxymoronic - comparison between butterflies and sonnets - butterflies killed by cyanide jars to pin up on a board in a museum - idea = killed off in cyanide jar of a sonnet - we peer in at sonnets to prove things, using sonnets as specimens - must travel far to find the specimens (both insects and sonnets) - requires great skill for both poet and the butterfly-killers - the butterflies/sonnets = ordinary, the living things are strength to us because the dead things become familiar, living butterflies become forgotten, sonnets focus on past thoughts/ideas and we forget to focus on our living ideas/emotions/thoughts - sonnets = cryptic, don’t explain living emotions, make us familiar with dead emotions - losing freedom of thought/expression in a way, by writing a sonnet Sonnet – Billy Collins (p. 835) - half about sonnet form and half about a woman telling a man to get into bed - line 3: what sonnets have been - Laura’s just wanting him to come to bed and stop writing a sonnet Lyric: any fairly short poem, uttered by a single speaker (“I”), who expresses a state of mind or a process of perception, thought, and feeling. Observation, thought, memory and feeling may be organised in a number of ways. Many lyric speakers are represented as musing in solitude. In dramatic lyrics, however, the speaker is represented as addressing another person in a specific situation. Identity of the speaker: 1. Sometimes references to the known circumstances of the author’s life make it clear that we are to read the poem as a personal expression. Even in such personal lyrics, however, both the character and utterance of the speaker may be formalised and altered by the author in a way that is conducive to the desired artistic effect. 2. In a number of lyrics, the speaker is a conventional period-figure, such as the long-suffering suitor in the Petrarchan sonnet, or the courtly, witty lover of the Cavalier poems. 3. In some types of lyrics, the speaker is obviously an invented figure removed from the speaker of the poem in character and circumstance (e.g. dramatic monologue). The Flea – John Donne – p. 27 - stanza 1: the flea bit both of them and their blood is now intertwined, which (they thought) would happen if they had sex - the flea swells up with blood, the woman swells up with pregnancy - stanza 2: he tells her not to crush the flea because it symbolizes their marriage bed where there blood has intertwined (hyperbole) - stanza 3: she killed the flea and nothing happened, so he’s clearly full of shit. - Last few lines: he says that since nothing happened when she killed the flea, nothing will happen if she has sex with him. To his Coy Mistress – Andrew Marvell – p. 67 - “I want to sleep with you, but if you put me off for too long I’ll be dead.” - Drawing out time and saying he will give her all that time because she deserves it. - Deserts of vast eternity are before him with a chariot pushing him forward. The future is not a beautiful place. He says that he can’t wait forever because otherwise they will die. She will die and so will his lust. - There is only the present – let’s devour this moment; eat it up - Sphere = image of perfection/wholeness; roll together in perfection, but also tear apart each other’s bodies, and bring them though time together Dover Beach – Matthew Arnold – p. 289 - “human sorrows like the sound of waves on the sand” – Sophocles heard this sound a lot time ago Goblin Market – Christina Rossetti – p. 305 - example of an ALLEGORY - all the fruit is ripe together  not actually possible - sells a piece of herself (a curl of hair) to get the fruit, which does not satiate her thirst - she is heartbroken because the fruit is no longer available to her - Goblins turn evil when Lizzie tries to buy fruit for Laura and won’t eat it in front of them Literal Allegorical Allegorical (another interpretation) Goblin market Goblin men Drug dealers Pimps Fruit Temptation, drug Prostitution addiction Lizzie Purity (virtue) Purity (Virgin Mary) Laura Addict/sinner Prostitute/sinner Jeanie Dead addict Dead prostitute Buying fruit with lock of Paying with body hair Eating fruit First time doing drugs Loss of virginity Inability to have fruit again Physical degradation, she’s used up and they don’t want her anymore Refusing fruit Defies drug dealers Defies pimp Dramatic Lyrics - speaker is represented as addressing another person in a specific situation - i.e. The Flea and To His Coy Mistress  no deep sense of speaker’s personality - i.e
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