Exploring Poetry

Kelly Duncan
Madeline Dalziel
Marilyn Chan

Table of Contents:
Part 1: Figurative Language
    • Anticipation Guide
    • Figurative Language Notes
    • Figurative Language Challenge
    • "Identity" Poem
    • Sample Freedom/Entrapment Poems
    • Lines Breaks and White Spaces
    • Elements of Poetry Notes
    • Group Poetry Analysis
    • Personification Poem
    • Sample Personification Poems
    • "Where I'm From" Poem
    • Sample "Where I'm From" Poems
Flip Camera Project
    • Assignment Sheet
    • Poems and Analysis Worksheets
    • Planning Your Video
    • Flip Camera Filming Tips
    • Story Boards
    • Sample Poetry Videos
Part 2: Types of Poetry
    • Narrative Poetry
    • Ballads
    • Epic
    • Ode
    • Sonnet
    • Elegy
Types of Poetry Final Project
    • Brainstorm Worksheets
    • California Content Standards
Figurative Language
Flip Camera Project
Types of Poetry
Focus Content Area:
English/Language Arts

Secondary Content Area:
Grade Level:

Students will be completing two poetry units during the first semester this year. The first unit focuses on figurative language and poetic devices, and the second unit teaches form by investigating different types of poetry.

Our culminating project is a flip camera poetry video. Students will be assigned groups and a poem and will complete an analysis and interpretation of the poem. Then, they will use the flip cameras to record themselves reciting the poem thinking about the tone and mood of the poem and how they can present their ideas visually.

Part 1: Figurative Language:

Anticipation Guide

Directions: Use the following numerical system to rate your feelings about poetry.

            1                    2              3                4                     5
Strongly Agree    Agree        Neutral    Disagree    Strongly Disagree

1.    __________ I enjoy reading poetry.
2.    __________ I enjoy writing poetry.
3.    __________ The best poems rhyme.
4.    __________ Poetry is hard to understand.
5.    __________ Writing poetry is difficult.
6.    __________ Poems are boring.
7.    __________ Poets usually use old-fashioned words in their poems.
8.    __________ Poems are hard to punctuate.
9.    __________ Poems are usually about boring subjects.
10.  __________ The first word in every line of a poem needs to be capitalized.

Figurative Language Pretest

1._____ metaphor                      A.  repeating consonant sounds
2._____ simile                            B. using words that suggest sounds
3._____ repetition                      C. giving human qualities to objects, animals, or ideas
4._____ alliteration                     D. comparing 2 things without using "like" or "as"
5._____ imagery                         E. person, place, or object that stands for something else
6._____ onomatopoeia               F. words or phrases that appeal to the senses
7._____ personification              G. surprise difference between what’s expected & what happens
8._____ symbol/symbolism        H. words, lines, or phrases that are repeated
9._____ irony                              I. comparing 2 things using "like" or "as"
10.____ hyperbole                     J. obvious or intentional exaggeration

Download: Poetry Anticipation Guide

Figurative Language Notes

1. What is the difference between the literal and figurative meaning of something?

                a. Literal meaning:

                b. Figurative meaning:

 Type  Definition/Examples












What is the purpose of using figurative language in poetry?



Figurative Language Notes
Figurative Language Powerpoint

Figurative Language Challenge

Now that we have studied different types of figurative language, you will be testing your knowledge by completing the Song Lyrics Challenge below.

Figurative Language is not only found in poetry, you will also see figurative language used in songs and prose. For this challenge you will be listening to 6 songs in class and identifying as many examples of figurative language in the songs as you can.

For homework you will be bringing in your own favorite (CLEAN) song lyrics and identifying 3 examples of figurative language.

Song Lyrics Worksheet

"Identity" Poem


1. Read through the poem once without marking anything.

By Julio Noboa Polanco

Let them be as flowers,
always watered, fed, guarded, admired,
but harnessed to a pot of dirt.

I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed,
clinging on cliffs, like an eagle
wind-wavering above high, jagged rocks.

To have broken through the surface of stone
to live, to feel exposed to the madness
of the vast, eternal sky.
To be swayed by the breezes of an ancient sea,
carrying my soul, my seed, beyond the mountains of time
or into the abyss of the bizarre.

I’d rather be unseen, and if
then shunned by everyone
than to be a pleasant-smelling flower,
growing in clusters in the fertile valley
where they’re praised, handled, and plucked
by greedy, human hands.

I’d rather smell of musty, green stench
than of sweet, fragrant lilac.
If I could stand alone, strong and free,
I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed.

2. Read through the poem a second time and mark as many examples of figurative language as you can see.

                        Symbolism                   Similes                     Imagery
                        Repetition                    Metaphors                Personification

3. Why do you think the speaker in "Identity" would rather be a weed than a flower?
4. Why doesn’t the speaker want to be like a lilac?
5. What do you think the theme or message of the poem is?
6. How do you know this is the theme of the poem? Use the table below to provide evidence of the theme you have chosen.

Line(s) from Poem
Interpretation of Lines
 Example: Flowers are "harnessed to a pot of dirt."
 Flowers are not free; they are  attached to a pot.



7. In this poem, Julio Noboa Polanco creates interesting similes and metaphors for the concepts of freedom and entrapment. In the space below, write your own original poem by creating similes and metaphors about these same ideas.

Freedom is ______________________

Entrapment is _______________________

"Identity" Poem
"Identity" Worksheet

Sample Freedom/Entrapment Poems

The following poems were written by Ms. Dalziel's 8th grade students:

Freedom Poem Sample 1
Freedom Poem Sample 2
Entrapment Poem Sample 1

Lines Breaks and White Spaces

In this assignment, you will be learning how to format your poetry. You will be exploring different ways of breaking up lines and adding more white spaces to your poems. The placement of lines and words in poetry can greatly affect the reading and interpretation of the poem. The Powerpoint presentation will guide you through the worksheet below.

Student Handout
Powerpoint Presentation

Elements of Poetry Notes

Directions: Fill in the following table from the Powerpoint notes.




Mitten Dreams

In the summer
we sleep
in the attic,
dreaming the mothballs
into snowballs

dreaming the cold air
so your hands will want to hide
inside the soft white clouds
of mittens,
that would make your hands

like paws of snow
leopards, paws of white
tigers, paws of polar

-Civ Sedering
 Excerpt from "The Negro Mother"

Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face
dark as the night
Yet shining like the sun with love’s true light.
I am the dark girl who has crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave
Children sold away from me, I’m
husband sold, too.
No safety, no love, no respect was due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth.
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I’m reaching the goal.

-Langston Hughes






Elements of Poetry Handout
Elements of Poetry Powerpoint
Examples of Tone
Elements of Poetry Homework

Group Poetry Analysis

Directions: In groups of 4, you will be reading and analyzing two poems by Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes. Fill in the table identifying the speaker, tone, theme, and examples of figurative language, then answer the questions on the back of the page.

 “A Little Girl’s Poem”
by Gwendolyn Brooks

Life is for me and is shining!
Inside me I
feel stars and sun and bells singing.

There are children in the world
all around me and beyond me—
here, and beyond the big waters;
here, and in countries peculiar to themselves.

I want the children to live and to laugh.
I want them to sit with their mothers and fathers
and have happy cocoa together.

I do not want
fire screaming up the sky.
I do not want
families killed in their doorways.

Life is for us, for the children.
Life is for mothers and fathers,
life is for the tall girls and boys
in high school on Henderson Street,
is for the people in Afrikan tents,
the people in English cathedrals,
the people in Indian courtyards;
the people in cottages all over the world.

Life is for us, and is shining.
We have a right to sing.

 “Mother to Son”
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

A. Group Assignment: Fill in this chart together as a group.

  "A Little Girl’s Poem"
 "Mother to Son"
 Speaker: Who is the speaker?

 Tone: What is the speaker’s tone? (Explain how you know).
 Figurative Language: List 3 examples of figurative language.







 Theme: What is the poem’s theme or message?

B. Compare and Contrast

1. Write down at least two similarities between the two poems.

2. Write down at least two differences between the two poems.

3. Both of these poems talk about the speakers’ perception of life. In the space below write down what your idea life would be like. Is there anything you would change about your life or the world as a whole?

Group Poetry Analysis Worksheet
Poems for Analysis

Personification Poem

Directions: Read the following poems and identify the speaker and tone of each poem.

1) The Red Gloves

Hey you forgot us!
Hurry back.

You will find one of us behind the baseball diamond,
the other one
by the swing.

Without your hands,
we are five-room houses
waiting for inhabitants
to come home.

We are soft shells
that miss
the snails that would give them
their slow speed.

We are red wings
that have forgotten how to fly.

When you find us,
put us on,

for like puppies who warm each other
all night
you will warm us
and will will warm
your hands.

which must be
without their red

-Civ Sedering

2. book

I sit here
waiting for you
collecting dust
hugging my pages tight
against the sun
that forces its way
into the library
each day

I can wait forever
for you to open me
you will not be disappointed
you will not be disappointed


3. Calm Pond

I am free to move
In summer, spring, and fall
The wind moving around me
The tiniest ripples
Moving end to end
People come to me
For their thinking place
It is calm and
I hear the slightest sound
A bird in the tallest tree
A frog swims swiftly
Through my black water
Then nestles in the soft mud
At the bottom
Tadpoles waiting for their big day

The days are getting colder
And colder each day
Now I am frozen
And I can’t move
Like I used to
Now I wait patiently
For spring to come

-Ian Pullen



1) Choose an everyday object that is important or has special meaning to you.
soccer cleats                 flip flops                     football                        baseball mit
sweater                         hat                              ballet slippers             back pack
book                              skateboard                 iPod                            surfboard

2) Imagine that you ARE that object, and complete the following sentences.
  • I am used for _________________________________________________
  • I see ________________________________________________________
  • I hear _______________________________________________________
  • I feel ________________________________________________________
  • I would say ___________________________________________________
  • I want _______________________________________________________
  • I need _______________________________________________________
3) What will your tone be? How does your object feel about its existence?

Using the ideas you have brainstormed above, write a poem from the perspective of your object. Your poem can be any form (rhyme or no rhyme) and length. Use everything you have learned about figurative language and the elements of poetry (such as tone, speaker, and theme) to write your poem.

Write your first draft of the poem on a separate piece of paper. Don’t forget to include a title!

Personification Poem Handout

Sample Personification Poems

The following poems were written by Ms. Dalziel's 8th grade students:


I watched you walk over to me in the grass
Gathered me up in your fingers and
Thought about what you wanted.
Whispered your wish to me,
(I did listen)
Blew out all of the seeds
And I will carry it on the winds
Twisting, falling, flying
We are separated in a hundred different directions.
Carried away to find
Someplace to stay in the ground
And grow a new flower.

The Passionate Purple Pen

Her thoughts and views
Trapped in an ongoing forest
Waiting to reach any sign of life or light

Through me,
She releases the clutter of emotions
Her insecurity and curiosity of the world
Flows along like the whispering winds

The motion and passion in her writing
Manifests the hand
That shields her mouth whenever she wants to speak out

I see past her disguise of a smile
And can see what lies beneath

I could feel her warm hand
Gripping me tightly
And moving in slow, rhythmic motion

My purple ink,
Flows across the paper
Like the winds that cause gentle ripples in a still, calm lake

Shield me from the cold with your blanket of a hand
Shield me from the cold

The Usual

There I am under your head
Watching you sleep and dream again
Then in the morning when you wake
And fix the covers
Set me straight
When you walk out the bedroom door
I’ll just wait here an hour or more

When you come back when the day is done
When the moon goes up and down goes the sun
In your pj’s you climb into bed
And on me you rest your weary head
Close your eyes and dream again...

Sample Poem 1
Sample Poem 2
Sample Poem 3

"Where I'm From" Poem

Overview: Today we will be reading the poem "Where I’m From" by George Ella Lyon, then writing our own "Where I’m From" poem. The Powerpoint presentation linked at the bottom will guide you through the lesson.

here to hear the poem read by George Ella Lyon

Where I’m From
   by George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.


1)    What is the purpose of this poem?
2)    List five everyday objects the author uses to describe where she’s from.
3)    How do the items listed help you to get to know the author?

Where I’m From
(Ms. Dalziel)

I am from mosquitoes in summer,
From macaroni and cheese with hotdogs
I’m from three legged races
In my dad’s fireman boots,
Barbie doll weddings,
The BFG and Matilda,
Figure skating in the driveway,
And sleepovers in the playhouse.

I’m from French braids and tea parties,
Soccer games on Saturdays,
Teaching to a classroom of dolls,
Eating mints at grandma’s house,
Wearing dress ups and high heels
That never ever fit right.

I’m from laughter and tears,
From carols under the Christmas tree
And prayers in the village church
I’m from “Eat your vegetables!”
“Who wants cherry pie for dessert?”
“Cou cou!” and “Salut!”

I’m from Burgundy Road in Encinitas,
Past the speed bumps,
After the bamboo grove,
Across the street from Capri,
In a house my father built,
With his bare hands.

That’s where I’m from.

 "Where I’m From" Poem
Planning Sheet

Directions: After reading the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon, you will be writing a poem about where you are from.  Below is an outline to help you get started. You are not required to follow this outline, but it is here to help you if you need it. There are seven options for stanzas below; your poem must include a minimum of four stanzas. Your lines do not need to rhyme. The goal is to give the reader an idea of what made you the way you are – what your roots are!

Stanza One – do not write this!
I am from
List items found around your home (bobby pins, skateboards, chore lists, stakes of newspapers, discount coupons for a Mercedes – you can be creative and stretch your imagination!)

Stanza Two – do not write this!
I am from
List items found in you yard (broken rakes,  chewed-up dog bones, hoses coiled like snakes – use metaphors as you create your lists!)

Stanza Three – do not write this!
I am from
List items found in your neighborhood (the corner grocery store, a 7-11, Mr. Tate’s beat-up old Ford, the “home base” plum tree.)

Stanza Four – do not write this!
I am from
Names of relatives, especially ones that link you to the past (Tio Fernando and Aunt Eva, Claude and the Anderson bunch)

Stanza Five – do not write this!
I am from
Sayings that your have heard from your mom, dad, or grandparents (If I’ve told you once…

Stanza Six – do not write this!
I am from
Names of food and dishes that recall family gatherings (lutefisk, tamales, black-eyed peas)

Stanza Seven – do not write this!
I am from
Names of places they keep their childhood memories (diaries, underwear drawers, inside the family Bible.)

That is where I am from.

"Where I'm From" Handout
"Where I’m From" Powerpoint


Sample "Where I'm From" Poems

The following poems were written by Ms. Dalziel's 8th grade students:

Where I’m From

I am from mild winters and hot summers
From the sweet smell of bread in the morning
And the sound of air planes passing over the house
I am from long hours of watching cartoons
On my soothing sofa
I’m from the toys on the floor everywhere
And my mom saying, "Clean up your room!"

I’m from the super markets around the corner
And the liquor stores across the street
From the fields that are huge
To the parks that are small
And from the ice cream man who comes on a hot day

I’m from the weeds in our backyard
And from the wobbly fences around the house
I’m from the peaceful streets at night
To the noisy cars in the morning
I am from tall trees in the back
With lots of birds whistling

I am from the scrap book of our family
In our beautiful shelf
To the pictures on our wall
That is where I’m from.

Where Am I From

Where am I from you ask
I wish I knew that myself
The truth is I don’t know
Was it from long walks on the beach?
Or basketball on the court

Am I from the heart of Africa?
Or the soul of Europe
Have I lived for a lifetime?
Or have I died a thousand times over
Did I have the courage of a lion?
Or the spine of a coward

Was I from playing with my friends?
Or alone by myself
Was I the most influential person on the planet?
Or was I the bum on the sidewalk
Was I a proud patriot?
Or did I follow General Lee

Where am I from?
I think about it everyday
The truth is I don’t care anymore
The only thing that matters now
Is where will I go?

Where I am From

I am from dishwashing liquid and sponges. I am from loud
music in a small room. (The beat is so loud the room
vibrates). I am from counting money after a pay check.

I am from pie eating with my family every Sunday. I am from
treating people like you want to be treated. I am from
amusement park rides in the nice summer weather. I am
from eating chicken eating with a side of mash potatoes and

I am from going to sleep after a long day and begging mama
for five more minutes of rest. I am from mall shopping,
movie watching and having fun with my friends each and

I am from grandma’s cooking just for four, but believe me
when she’s done there will be way more than four banging
at her door. I am from a respectful and strong family.

That’s where I’m from.

Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

Flip Camera Project:

Assignment Sheet

Bringing Poetry Alive
                      Using Flip Cameras

Overview: In groups of 4-5 you will be creating a video in which you recite and perform a poem assigned to you by an American poet speaking from their own cultural perspective.  Your goal is to combine the skills you’ve developed analyzing poetry with your own creativity to create a video that brings your poem to life.

1.    Read and analyze the poems in groups looking for at the speaker, tone, theme, and examples of figurative language.
2.    Divide the poem into sections and discuss how to present the poem on camera considering the following questions:
•    What will be your tone when you read the poem?
•    What words will you be sure to emphasize during your reading?
•    Where will you stop and pause when reading your lines?
•    What background will you have behind you?
•    Will your tone or mood change partway through the poem, if so, how will you    represent the change visually?
•    Will you read any lines from the poem as a group?
3.    Record yourselves reading the poem using the flip cameras.
4.    Edit your video adding titles, credits, and music if you choose.
5.    Present your video to the class.
6.    Reflect on the experience of performing poetry.


1.  Why do you think it is important to hear poetry spoken?
2. What can you gain by seeing a poem read aloud versus just hearing it read?

Assignment Sheet

Poems and Analysis Worksheets

For the Flip Camera Video Project, students will be placed in groups of 4-5 and each group will be assigned a poem. Below you will find each poem attached to an analysis worksheet. Students will be asked to read the poem as a group, then complete the analysis before they can begin planning their poetry videos.

Download Analysis Worksheets:
Gary Soto: "A Red Palm"
Langston Hughes: "As I Grew Older"
Seamus Heaney: "Digging"
Pat Mora: "Senora X No More"
Maya Angelou: "Still I Rise"
Robert Frost: "The Road Not Taken"
Nellie Wong "When I Was Growing Up"

Planning Your Video


1.    In your group split up the poem and decide who will be reading each section. (Remember everyone MUST read and the poem should be split up evenly). Each group member should mark on their poem who is reading what.
2.    Each group member should then read through their individual lines and decide on  the following (with help from group members):
•    What will your tone be during your section of the reading? (Ex: happy, sad, thoughtful, excited, determined, etc.) Will it change at all?
•    Highlight any words or phrases that you want to emphasize in your reading.
•    Put an X next to any places where you want to pause for dramatic effect or stop and take a breath.
3.    As a group start mapping out your project together using the movie map worksheet. Pretend the boxes are the views from the camera and use them to illustrate:
•    where you will be in relation to the camera
•    the angle you will be filmed from
•    what will be in the background
4.    Use the lines below the boxes to make any notes to yourself. For example, film with shadows over her face or tilt the camera up during this clip.
5.    Be creative! Consider props, costumes, and anything else that might enhance your video.

**Remember, you will only have 20-25 minutes to film your entire project, so you need to have clear instructions and ideas ready BEFORE you begin filming. The first groups finished with the plan will be the first to begin filming.

Planning Worksheet

Flip Camera Filming Tips

1.    Lens – the small circular glass on the front of the camera should not be touched! If you put your fingers all over it you image will not be clean looking.

2.    Make sure you mic (built into the camera) is close enough to your subject. The Flip Video mic is not very powerful and if what your subject is saying is important – then you will need them to be fairly close to the camera. (Tip – when looking through the viewer screen you should only see a “head shot” of you subject – that is from chest or shoulder lever up to just above their head.

3.    Once you turn on the camera to record wait about 3 seconds before you begin speaking, and after you finish speaking wait another 3 seconds before you stop recording. This will allow for transition time once you edit your video so that you don’t get cut off while you are speaking.

4.    Be creative with your image – think about what you poem is saying and try to think of some creative fun way to have you image help represent that idea.

5.    The sun can really hurt a video image – if it is a bright, sunny day, make sure you look at how the person looks before you start to shoot. If they are standing in bright sunlight it might case your subject to squint their eyes or the sun might cast harsh shadows on their face(s).  Also make use your camera is not pointing into the sun – this could wash out your image all together. Sometimes finding a shady spot where the light is more neutral is a good idea.

6.    Wind can also drown out your sound. If it is a windy day – try to find a spot where the wind in not so strong or a spot that is sheltered from the wind to shoot.

7.    Make sure you turn the camera off when you are done – this will help conserve the batteries.

8.    Have fun and be creative!

Filming Tips

Story Boards

Use the storyboard template linked below to begin planning your poetry video. In the boxes draw what the camera will see. (Consider background, angle, and sunlight). On the lines below the boxes write notes to remind you what you will be doing.

Storyboard Template

Sample Poetry Videos

8th Grade Poetry Videos:

 "As I Grow Older" Langston Hughes


"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" Maya Angelou


"When I Was Growing Up" Nellie Wong

Part 2: Types of Poetry:

Narrative Poetry


Narrative Poetry Powerpoint


After reviewing the Narrative Poetry Powerpoint, read Edgar Allan Poe’s famous narrative poem called "The Raven"

"The Raven" Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"’Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more."

Click here to read the rest of the poem


Read and complete the reading guide for "The Raven"












Answer the following reading questions in complete sentences.

1. After reading the poem, choose a line or two that you found most intersting. Copy it down and explain why you chose it.

2. Why do you think the narrator kept asking the raven questions even though he already knew what he was going to say?

3. Do you think that the narrator will ever get over his wife’s death?

4. Choose a line or two that is an example of "alliteration" and copy it down.

5. What are the similarities and differences between Edgar Allan Poe’s originial version of "The Raven" versus the Simpson’s version?

Poetry Memorization

For this assignment you are to find a narrative poem and memorize at least 20 lines of it to recite in class. To complete this assignment follow these steps:

1. Find or choose a poem that you will memorize

2. Memorize that poem

3. Provide a written or typed copy of the poem to present to your teacher at the time of your recitation.

4. Recite the poem in class.

You will be graded on the following:

Present a copy of your poem and the rubric at the time of your recitation!

Print View of Poetry Memorization Rubric



Ballad Powerpoint


"The Wreck of the Hesperus" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(Prentice Hall Literature Book - Silver Level, pg 818)

It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintery sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.

The Skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
for I fear a hurricane.

"Last night the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.

Click here to read the rest of the poem


As you read the poem "The Wreck of the Hesperus" complete the worksheet below.

"The Wreck of the Hesperus" Student Worksheet



Epic, Ode, Sonnet, Elegy PowerPoint


"Invocation" from John Brown’s Body - Stephen Vincent Benet

(Prentice Hall Literature Book - Silver Level, pg 851)

American muse, whose strong and diverse heart
So many men have tried to understand
But only made it smaller with their art,
Because you are as various as your land,
As mountainous-deep, as flowered with blue rivers,
Thirsty with deserts, buried under snows,
As native as the shape of Navajo quivers,
And native, too, as the sea-voyaged rose.
Swift runner, never captured or subdued,
Seven-branched elk beside the mountain stream,
That half a hundred hunters have pursued
But never matched their bullets with the dream,
Where the great huntsmen failed, I set my sorry
And mortal snare for your immortal quarry.
You are the buffalo-ghost, the broncho-ghost
With dollar-silver in your saddle-horn,
The cowboys riding in from Painted Post,
The Indian arrow in the Indian corn,
Click here to read the rest of the poem
The Odyssey - Homer
One of the most famous epics was written by a Greek poet named Homer. This epic is called The Odyssey and starts out like this...
Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who travelled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted; moreover he suffered much by sea while trying to save his own life and bring his men safely home; but do what he might he could not save his men, for they perished through their own sheer folly in eating the cattle of the Sun-god Hyperion; so the god prevented them from ever reaching home. Tell me, too, about all these things, O daughter of Jove, from whatsoever source you may know them.
(translated by Samuel Butler)
Click here for the full translation
Interested in learning more about The Odyssey?
You can also find a more middle school friendly translation of the epic... click here

Assignments - Class Discussion on "Invocation" from John Brown's Body

1. What are the qualities within this poem that makes it an epic?

2. How does the poet, Benet, describe John Brown?



Epic, Ode, Sonnet, Elegy PowerPoint


"Ode to Enchanted Light" - Pablo Neruda

(Prentice Hall Literature Book - Silver Level, pg 848)

Under the trees light
has dropped from the top of the sky,
like a green
latticework of branches,
on every leaf,
drifting down like clean
white sand.

A cicada sends
its sawing song
high into the empty air.
The world is
a glass overflowing
with water.
Read this poem in the original Spanish
"Ode to Socks" - Pablo Neruda
Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Click here to read the rest of the poem

Assignment - Class discussion on Neruda's "Ode to Enchanted Light"

1. What is the poem giving praise to?

2. What words or phrases stand out to you the most?



Here are two examples of the rhyming pattern you will find in an ode:




Epic, Ode, Sonnet, Elegy PowerPoint


"Harriet Beecher Stowe" - Paul Lawrence Dunbar

(Prentice Hall Literature Book - Silver Level, pg 853)

The following example of the sonnet has altered to show the rhyming patterm.












"Sonnet 18" - William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Assignments - Class discussion on Dunbar’s "Harriet Beecher Stowe"

1. What are the qualities in the poem that make it similar to an Ode?

2. Even if you don’t know anything about who Harriet Beecher Stowe was, why do you think Dunbar chose to write about her in his sonnet?



Epic, Ode, Sonnet, Elegy PowerPoint


"She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways" - William Wordsworth

(Prentice Hall Literature Book - Silver Level, pg 850)

  SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways
            Beside the springs of Dove,
          A Maid whom there were none to praise
            And very few to love:

          A violet by a mossy stone
            Half hidden from the eye!
          --Fair as a star, when only one
            Is shining in the sky.

          She lived unknown, and few could know
            When Lucy ceased to be;                                   10
          But she is in her grave, and, oh,
            The difference to me!

"Elegy For Jane" - Theodore Roethke

(My student, thrown by a horse)
I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,

A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her;
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing,
And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.

Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.

My sparrow, you are not here,
Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me,
Nor the moss, wound with the last light.

If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:
I, with no rights in this matter,
Neither father nor lover.

Assignment - Class Discussion on Wordsworth's "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways"

1. Who is Lucy?

2. How does the speaker feel about her?



Types of Poetry Final Project:

Brainstorm Worksheets

Your final project is to write your own poem! Choose one type of poem among the styles of poetry that we have studied. Use the worksheets below to help you brainstorm and then write your own poem.

Download: Narrative Poetry Brainstorm (Ballad, Epic)


Download: Ode, Sonnet, Elegy Brainstorm

Grading - Attach your Brainstorm Sheet/Rubric to your poem

 Attached worksheet/rubric ______/5
 Following directions, correct structure ______/10
 Effort and Creativity ______/10
 Neatness and Design ______/5
 Grammar and Spelling ______/5




California Content Standards

The following standards can be met through this project:

ELA.8.3.1. Determine and articulate the relationship between the purposes and characteristics of different forms of poetry (e.g., ballad, lyric, couplet, epic, elegy, ode, sonnet).
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
ELA.8.3.2. Evaluate the structural elements of the plot (e.g., subplots, parallel episodes, climax), the plot's development, and the way in which conflicts are (or are not) addressed and resolved.
ELA.8.3.4. Analyze the relevance of the setting (e.g., place, time, customs) to the mood, tone, and meaning of the text.
ELA.8.3.6. Identify significant literary devices (e.g., metaphor, symbolism, dialect, irony) that define a writer's style and use those elements to interpret the work.
ELA.8.2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
ELA.8.2.2. Write responses to literature:
a. Exhibit careful reading and insight in their interpretations.
b. Connect the student's own responses to the writer's techniques and to specific textual references.
c. Draw supported inferences about the effects of a literary work on its audience.
d. Support judgments through references to the text, other works, other authors, or to personal knowledge.
Listening and Speaking
ELA.8.2.0 Speaking Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
ELA.8.2.2. Deliver oral responses to literature:
a. Interpret a reading and provide insight.
b. Connect the students' own responses to the writer's techniques and to specific textual references.
c. Draw supported inferences about the effects of a literary work on its audience.
d. Support judgments through references to the text, other works, other authors, or personal knowledge.
ELA.8.2.5. Recite poems (of four to six stanzas), sections of speeches, or dramatic soliloquies, using voice modulation, tone, and gestures expressively to enhance the meaning.