Poetry: An Introduction

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Poetry: An Introduction is an accessible and clearly written introduction to the structural and methodological principles underpinning poetry and its study. It aims to equip the student, researcher, and general reader with a body of technical information that will sharpen and deepen their engagement with individual poems.

Strachan and Terry provide a lively map through what might on first experience seem the most daunting aspects of poetry: poetic sound effects, rhythm and meter, the typographic display of poems on the page, the language of poetry, and the use made by poets of techniques of comparison and association. The book's discussion of poetic terminology is allied throughout to illustrative readings that show the usefulness of the terminology in approaching particular poems; its emphasis is always a practical one, demonstrating how poems actually work.

Beginning with an historical overview of the development of English poetry from its earliest origins and finishing with an authoritative dictionary of poetical terms, Poetry: An Introduction is an indispensable guide to the understanding of poetry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For anyone who has ever wondered about the differences between metaphor and metonym or a trochee and a dactyl, this compact, well-organized handbook promises to be useful."

-Library Journal

Library Journal
For anyone who has ever wondered about the differences between metaphor and metonym or a trochee and a dactyl, this compact, well-organized handbook promises to be useful. Written by two prominent British educators, the volume serves as a basic guide to the technical structure of Western verse. Unlike books of poetry explication that emphasize the content and meaning of poems, this work deals with all the technical aspects of poetry: rhyme, rhythm, meter, diction, figurative language, and the visual appearance of verse on the printed page. The authors also include a concise historical overview of changing poetic styles and a helpful glossary of literary terms. Very accessible to beginning students of poetry, this handbook will help demystify a subject that many find daunting. Recommended for undergraduate and public library collections. Ellen Sullivan, Ferguson Lib., Stamford, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814797976
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/16/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Strachan is principal Lecturer in English at the University of Sunderland.

Richard Terry is Reader in English at the University of Sunderland.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The key words of poetry 8
1.1 What is poetry? 9
1.2 The key words of English poetic history 14
2 The shape of poetry 24
2.1 The aesthetics of print 24
2.2 Pictograms and concrete poems 25
2.3 Visible but unreadable 29
2.4 Layout and punctuation 32
2.5 The poetic stanza and stanzaic form 35
3 The sound of poetry 49
3.1 Poetic sound effects: an overview 49
3.2 Onomatopoeia 53
3.3 Sound/patterning 57
3.4 Rhyme 59
3.5 The 'orthodox' rhyme 62
3.6 Some 'unorthodox' rhymes 63
3.7 Some indeterminacies of rhyme 69
3.8 Rhyme and meaning 72
4 Metre and rhythm 75
4.1 Complexities in the study of metre 76
4.2 The key metrical units 77
4.3 Metrical regularity and variance 81
4.4 'Missing' and 'extra' syllables 82
4.5 Feet 84
4.6 Iambic metre 84
4.7 Trochaic metre 93
4.8 Dactylic metre 98
4.9 Anapaestic metre 99
4.10 Occasional feet 101
4.11 Metrical verse lines 102
4.12 Free verse 111
5 Comparisons and associations 115
5.1 Literal v. figurative 115
5.2 Metaphor and simile 116
5.3 Metonymy and synecdoche 119
5.4 Tenor, vehicle and ground 123
5.5 Conceits and extended similes 128
5.6 Dead and dying metaphors 133
5.7 Riddle poems 138
6 The words of poetry 142
6.1 Linguistic diversity 142
6.2 Poetic diction 146
6.3 Poetry of the everyday language 151
6.4 Creating your own language 153
6.5 Diction and argots 156
6.6 Poems about language 160
6.7 The Queen's (and other people's) English 163
A glossary of poetical terms 167
Index 195
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