Session #15 October 14th: Poetry (2)

UPDATE: I have created a quiz on some of the terms related to poetry, words that we used in these 2 sessions on poetry. The quiz is online. This is an experiment (I have not used this before). If you have time, please visit the quiz, try it out, and give me your feedback.

The quiz is here: 


Today’s session will be from 3.30 (not 3 as it usually is).

For this session, we will continue our brief study of English poetry. Please bring the same poems as last time (email me if you have not received these).

In addition, I would like to introduce you to two more poems:

  1. Ode to Autumn” by John Keats (here is the poem with an analysis) (I discovered today that there is a new movie about the poet John Keats called “Bright Star” (the title of one of Keats’ poems) (see some clips here)
  2. the beginning of “Under Milk Wood” by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (here is a YouTube recording of Welsh actor Richard Burton reading the beginning of this poem)

First, we will review what we talked about last time – about metre, rhyme, rhyme schemes and different verse forms such as limericks, free verse, nonsense verse, etc.

Then, we will read a sonnet by Shakespeare and discuss its structure, then a sonnet by Wilfrid Owen, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”.

I won’t spend much time discussing the meaning of these poems. Instead, I want to talk about their power: why are these poems still so famous?

The next session (#16) will be Wednesday Oct. 28th, 3-5 pm

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8 thoughts on “Session #15 October 14th: Poetry (2)”

  1. “Wilfred Owen was killed in action just a week before the war ended, causing news of his death to reach home as the town’s church bells declared peace”. What an irony of fate, or I’d say his anguished soul brought the declared peace; very merciful resolution for his soul.”Anthem for Doomed Youth” was the anthem for himself.

    1. I read before a story of a man who has the same symptom with Owen; he couldn’t move any more from ditch to ditch in battle field. When he consulted with a doctor, this time he was captured by him being said “Now you need me.”

  2. 「起承転結」(AA’BC)(転=volta)を漢詩(Chinese Poem)の時間に習ったのを思い出しました。日本ではpoetryは詩歌(しいか)(漢詩+和歌)です。西洋の詩は近代になってから日本に来たのだと思います。漢詩では風景、西洋詩では人事がよくうたわれるといいますが、漢詩にも左遷や隠遁を嘆くものが多いし、西洋にもOde to Autumnのような叙景の名高い詩(他にも沢山あるのでしょう)があって、愛されているのですね。いずれにしても、よい詩には力があるのですね。

    1. Daffodils by William Wordsworth is one of my favorite poems. He saw a crowd of daffodils on the way while taking a walk with his sister around Windermere. There were ten thousand -daffodils. This poem provides me with the surrounding and situation, even smell.

  3. I love the poem,”Ode to Autumn” by Keats. First of all I felt how kind and warm the title,[秋に寄せて」was. The poem shows us beautiful,awe-inspiring nature. It’s a bless and like that to Autumn.
    This poem reminds me of the scenery that I saw in the rulal country where I grew up. But actually now many fields have been developed to the residential area. So I seldom see such a wanderful landscape in that area. I miss those scenic beauty.

  4. Thanks to Marc’s detailed explanations and poetry worksheet about key terms given in session #15, I understood the poetry form and the structure very well.

    Sonnet–a short poem with fourteen lines, usually ten-syllables, rhyming lines, divided into two, three, or four sections. When we learned sonnets by Shakespeare and Wilfrid Owen, I knew why these poems were still so famous. The structure is organized very regularly, even if the poets used ‘Poetic License’, and also they include famous expressions. I was so impressed with those schemes and good expressions. Again I was so moved by Marc’s rhythmical reading aloud, even when I don’t know the logical meanings. Especially moving was “Anthem for Doomed Youth”
    by Wilfrid Owen who suffered from shell shock.
    I think it shows the power of the poetry.(それこそ詩の持つ力だと思います。)

    Blank verse —unrhymed poetry has a regular rhythm and line length, especially iambic pentameter.
    Typical blank verse is a part of HAMLET that we learned.
    “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” In this one line there are five iambic (da-DUM). When we read this, it is stressed like this—-to BE, or NOT to BE, THAT is the QUEStion.
    That speech has many famous expressions,for example, “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”(運命の矢弾ーmisfortune),
    “a consummation devoutly to be wished” (願ってもない人生の終局)、
    “shake off this mortal coil”
    “Who would fardels bear” (誰が来んな重荷を忍ぶ物か)、
    “The undiscovered country”(未知の国、あの世)。

  5. As we learned in the session, there are many famous expressions originating from Shakespeare. When we say “in a nutshell,” we mean we are saying something in a very brief way using few words. We can understand Dr. Hawking is explaining about the universe in a concise way from the title of his book “The Universe in a Nutshell.” (Japanese title is ホーキング、未来を語る.) Recently I’ve learned the title was derived from a passage from “Hamlet” by Shakespeare; “I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. ” What an intellectual inspiration!

  6. When I read before the phrases beginning “To be or not to be”, I didn’t notice they were part of verse called blank verse. The lines have elements of interior monologue and also address readers forcibly with tightly combined words and some invented expressions. The poems of the 16C sound still really new as well as the sad sonnet by Owen about World WarⅠ.

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