Poetry Basics: How to Read and Understand a Poem | Elizabeth Dean | Skillshare

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Poetry Basics: How to Read and Understand a Poem

teacher avatar Elizabeth Dean, Poetry and Writing Instructor

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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

2 Lessons (10m)
    • 1. When you first see a poem

    • 2. Rhyme

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About This Class

Learn all about how to read and understand poetry in this new course! Use the techniques described to learn about the finest literary pieces in the English language  This course will contain 10 lectures so stay tuned.

For my other poetry class click the following link: https://skl.sh/2GOl3UH

Meet Your Teacher

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Elizabeth Dean

Poetry and Writing Instructor


Hello, I'm Elizabeth. I'm a poetry enthusiast and a teacher. I have taught for 4 years. I love to meet new people and new ideas!

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1. When you first see a poem: welcome to how to read and understand poetry. This is our first lecture when you first see a point. Okay. So what do you do when you first see a point? Do you a run in fear? Be read it wants or c Read it seven times now. It should be pretty obvious. Dancers. Obviously a kidding. It's C. You read it seven times silently. And I know when I say that number, that just sounds enormous Seven times. Are you kidding me? Well, unless you're super genius, you're not gonna understand that the first time or the second time. Probably not the fifth time, either. You need to read it seven times. And if you still read it after seven times and you still don't understand it, then you need to look for these tropes and metaphors. And things were going to go over in this course. If you still don't understand after that, then you need to pray that ah, you'll get the strength to carry on. Some points are impossible to understand. Like the great Kubla Khan. I've always had trouble understanding that point personally. And then I read it. Well, this isn't only makes sense to me, and it was an open. It was an opioid dream. That's why I can't understand it. He couldn't understand it, but it is a great point. It's very descriptive. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Okay, so the first thing we actually dio after we read it seven times, actually, before we read it. Sometimes we look at the title. So here's the rule with poetry. If the title is different in the first line than it's important, if it's the same, then it's not important. So I'm gonna interject poetry every now and then because this is a poetry course. So let me begin. Where is God by men? O. J. Savage Where is the See? The fishes cried as they swam the crystal clearness through. We've heard from Old of the Ocean's tide, and we long to look at the water's blew the wise one. Speak of the infinite. See who can tell us if such there be the lark flew up in the morning bright and saying and balanced on Sonny wings and this was it. Song. I see the light I look or world of beautiful things, that flying and singing everywhere in vain. I have searched to find the air. Okay, so that point you composite video and try to figure out the meaning. I'm gonna tell you what I interpret the point to be now different people interpret form to be different things. Okay, so my interpretation is so they each asked the fish because they're in the sea can understand where the sea is, what the sea is the Lord, because it's in the sky can is to end where the sky is. And us, since we're in God's creation can understand where God is. That's my interpretation of the point. So this is the fish. Fish is crying. This is the larks cry. And this is our cry as the human race. Where is God? Over in God's creation. According to manage a savage, you can also interpret the point to mean nature is God. But I personally don't think that's it. But those are the two big interpretations. Okay, so we're going to take a little bit about reading. Poetry means you go over Kasur is and comments? No. When I say that, you've probably never heard that word before. Kasur up. So what it is is It's a natural pause and poetry. You never read a point like it's written like you think you would let me show you an example. I'm to read the first line of this famous point by Carol Ann Duffy called titled The War Photographer. I'm going to read it like most people would read it, and then I'm gonna read it like you're actually supposed to read it. In his dark room, he is finally alone, with spools of suffering, set out in ordered rows. The only light is red and softly glows as though this were church and he a priest preparing to and tone a mass. Belfast Baru, Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass. He has a job to do solutions, slopping trays beneath his hands, which did not tremble. Then there seem to now rule England home again. Do ordinary pain, which simple weather can dispel to field, which don't explode beneath his feet of running Children in a nightmare heat. Okay, so this is a great point, and it uses Kashmir's and commas a lot, cause yours are natural pauses in the point. Sometimes there. Sometimes they're indicated by punctuation. Sometimes they're not, and you just know to pause because that's natural. Commas indicated. Pause to, but it's a little bit more subtle. Usually, periods indicate great importance. Commas indicates some importance. So I'm going to read it like your action supposed to read it, which is not pausing at the end of each line. I'm sorry to ruin that for you, but that tell you, Spruce Street poetry, unless you're eating a nursery rhyme and then you can pause it the end of each line. But this is a nursery rhyme. Or hopefully it's not because then the world in a dark place. In his dark room, he is finally alone, with spools of suffering set out and ordered rose. Three Only light is red and softly glows is though this work church and he a Pete Priests preparing to Antone a Mass Belfast. The route Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass. He has a job to dio solutions. Slopping trays beneath his hands was, do not tremble. Then there seem to now rule England, home again to ordinary plane, which simple weather can. A spell to field was don't explode beneath the feet of running Children and a nightmare heat. You see how much more natural and just overall. Better that Waas. That's how you're supposed to read poetry. So now you know. And this is it for this lesson. I hope you enjoyed it and tune in for our next lesson. 2. Rhyme: welcome battering, Understand poetry, this lecture we will cover rhyme. So why did poems rhyme? It adds layers to appoint and devices. So a point, um, is a little bit like cake. And if employments cake, then the frosting is rhythm or the rhyme, so it holds layers together of the point, and it really adds another layer of complexity and prettiness. There are three main types of Ryan we're gonna There are a couple more, but we're going to go over the three basic types, so full line these rhymes have exactly the same and sounds. They add a clean, coherent element like Time, lime and rhyme. They're a little bit like so it's clean. It makes everything a little bit nicer and prettier and smells nice. Usually it's very nice. It's what nursery rhymes use and some other poetry to a lot of poetry. There's a lot of great deep poetry that uses full rhyme as well, but it's most famous for nursery rhymes, so slant rhyme is close sounding and syllables. It adds tension like explain and tame. You see there close but not exact. So last type is blank verse or no rhyme. Yes, I'm cheating a little bit, but we're gonna talk about the two sides of the argument over blank verse. Now, one side says, if it's blank furs, it's not poetry. Poetry by Standard has to ride, and the other side says no, it's It's all about emotion. That's what makes appointment point. So it is a point. So the first side argues that poetry needs to have a classical standard like all art should , according to them. Like, for instance, a painter might look to the Renaissance, the Italian Renaissance, to gain inspiration and to hold their work in comparison. But modern painters don't anymore. They just kind of there's like Jason Pollock, who I'm gonna pick on him today, who splatters paint that's not classical. That's not coherent. That's that's what the societies that hate blank verse are trying to get to, They saying We need a structure now. The argument for blank verse is that, well, old points also like nursery rhymes, which is a very bad argument, but I'm gonna go over some of their good or good or better arguments. So so some of the arguments for blank verse are that it adds a little bit of personality and it's not constrained by the English language. You just talk about whatever you want, it's more, Um, it's freer and just overall better. That's what some people think. I prefer the older type of poetry that has rhyme. That's what I myself right when I write poetry. But if you like, blink first, that's fine. That's personal preference, so you can make up your mind and I'll see you next time for Lesson three.