Tag Archives: poetry

Rhetorical Figure

“Rhetorical Figure: An artful arrangement of words to achieve a particular emphasis and effect, as in apostrophe, chiasmus, and zeugma. A rhetorical figure does not alter the meanings of words as a metaphor may do. The repetitions in these lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins’sSt Winefred’s Well” are rhetorical in their emphasis and echoing:

‘T. What is it, Gwen, my girl? Why do you hove and haund me?

W. You came by Caerwys, sir?

V.                                 I came by Caerwys

W.                                                   There

Some messenger there might have met/met you from my uncle.

T. Your uncle met the messenger-/met me; and this is the message:

Lord Bueno comes to night./

W.                                                To night, sir!'”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Book of Answers: The Abbey Theater

“When did the Abbey Theater open?  The Dublin theater dedicated to presenting Irish drama opened in 1904. Its directors included William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory. Destroyed by fire in 1951, the theater reopened in 1966.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Motif

“Motif: One of the dominant ideas in a work of literature; a part of the main theme. It may consist of a character, a recurrent image, or a verbal pattern.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Matsuo Basho IV

“The summer grasses:

Of mighty warlords’ visions

All that they have left.”

Matsuo Basho, Poem (translation by Bernard Lionel Einbond)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Matsuo Basho III

“Clouds now and again

Give a soul some respite from

Moon-gazing—behold.”

Matsuo Basho, Poem (translation by Bernard Lionel Einbond)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Haiku

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the haiku as a poetic form. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and two comprehension questions. It is, in other words, a perfectly spare but complete introduction to the form itself. This joins a number of other documents and quotes posts on Mark’s Text Terminal. The search bar to your right will help you locate these materials.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Takamura Kotaro

“Takamura Kotaro: (1883-1956): Japanese poet and sculptor. Son of the noted traditionalist sculptor Takamura Koun (1852-1934), Takamura was a pioneering modernist in both art and literature, having spent years studying in Europe and the U.S. His sculpture reflected a passion for the work of Rodin, but his is best known as a poet. His 1914 collection Dotei (Journey) ranks as Japan’s first anthology of free verse in the colloquial language, anticipating the work of Hagiwara Sakutaro. Takamura’s most celebrated work is Chieko-sho (1941; tr Chieko’s Sky, 1978), a stunning verse record of the slow descent into madness of his wife, the painter Naganuma Chieko (1886-1838). Takamura’s reputation was tarnished by his unabashedly patriotic wartime poetry.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Simile

“Simile: (Latin neuter of similis ‘like’) A figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another, in such a way as to clarify and enhance an image. It is an explicit comparison (as opposed to the metaphor, q.v., where the comparison is implicit) recognizable by the use of the words ‘like’ or ‘as.’ It is equally common in prose and verse and is a figurative device of great antiquity. The following example comes from Graham Greene’s Stamboul Train:

‘The great blast furnaces of Liege rose along the line like ancient castles burning in a border raid.’

And this instance in verse from Ted Hughes’ poem February:

‘The wolf with its belly stitched full of big pebbles;

Nibelung wolves barbed like black pine forest

Across a red sky, over blue snow…’

See also EPIC SIMILE.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Vernacular

“Vernacular: (Latin vernaculus “domestic, native, indigenous’) Domestic or native language. Now applied to the language used in one’s native country. It may also be used to distinguish between a ‘literary’ language and a dialect; for instance, William Barnes’svernacular poems,’ and outstanding example of dialect (q.v.) poetry.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Formalism or Russian Formalism

“Formalism or Russian Formalism: Russian school of literary criticism that flourished 1914-28. Making use of the linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussure, Formalists were concerned with what technical devices make a literary text literary, apart from its psychological, sociological, biographical, and historical elements. Though influenced by the Symbolist movement, they sought to make their analyses more objective and scientific than those of the Symbolists. The movement was condemned by the Soviet authorities in 1929 for its lack of political perspective. Later, it became influential in the West, notably in New Criticism and structuralism.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.