Posts Tagged ‘IATEFL Conference Manchester 2015’

IATEFL Conference Manchester 2015 ‘How Poetry Can Aid Students’ Comprehension’ Rosemary Westwell

April 9, 2015

IATEFL Conference 2015 Manchester
Workshop 45 minutes with audience participation for experienced or inexperienced audience BE BEA
‘How Poetry Can Aid Students’ Comprehension’
One of the major problems students have with comprehending written English is the lack of understanding of non-literal language.

This workshop will explore poetic devices, styles and structure and show how an understanding of these can help students’ comprehension

poetic devices: worksheet 1 with answers
poetic styles: worksheet 2 with answers
poetry structures: worksheet 3 with answers
TEXTS: devices, styles and structure in examples of prose
How to use an understanding of poetic devices, styles and structure to aid comprehension at different levels
textbook: ‘A Close look at Unseen Poetry’ by Rosemary Westwell ISBN9781500468453 available from http://www.amazon.com
contact: Dr Rosemary Westwell rjwestwell@hotmail.com 
Work sheet 1 Poetic Devices Fill the gaps by choosing from: alliteration, assonance, simile, contrast, euphemism, hyperbole, imagery, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification
________: words that begin with the same letter, e.g. Two toads were totally tired.
________: contains the same vowel sounds, e.g. the half-heard word stirred
cohesion : joining aspects of the poem so that the whole poem is ‘one’ expression or idea, often by constant or regular references to particular sounds, assonances, or alliterations in different parts of the poem.
collocation: implied collocation : ‘the tall building’, ‘the high building’, ‘the tall man’ are phrases which contain words that are often associated together i.e. they are common collocations – but ‘the high man’ is seldom used, ‘high’ is not usually associated or collocated with ‘man’ (depending on context). We may think of common collocations with a word or words in the poem that are not present but may be implied by the context.
comparison, ________, e.g. The thief was as cunning as a fox.
Connotations and implied connotations i.e. associated meanings e.g .the word ‘fly’ may remind us of the phrase ‘fly high’ or ‘do well’, or fly away : – run away, or escape. ________: e.g. He was as clumsy as a drunken tramp. She was as dainty as a cat.
________hints at a harsh truth, e.g. saying ‘He passed away.’ instead of ‘He died.’
enjambment continuing a line into the next one without a break sometimes in order to give more weight or importance to the idea(s) expressed
figurative language has a hidden meaning, e.g. he has a finger in every pie meaning he is involved in many different activities
grammar: use of specific grammatical structures for emphasis e.g. in the line ‘The free bird leaps’, the poet uses ‘the’ instead of ‘a’, meaning that ‘the free bird’ mentioned in the poem is not one bird, but represents all types of free birds.
_______ exaggerates, e.g. I drank gallons of lemonade.
________uses words that appeal to the senses: sight sound, touch, smell or taste, e.g. the rosy clouds
literal use of words e.g. He put his finger into the pie to taste it.
litotes, under-statement e.g. He passed with 100 per cent, so he knows a little of his subject.
________e.g. The man was a fox.
________, words sound like the sounds they represent e.g. squelching footsteps
paradox, something true which appears to be a contradiction, e.g. The truer the statement, the more it is disbelieved.
________, like human beings, e.g. The flowers danced.

Work sheet 1 Poetic Devices ‘Answers’
Alliteration: words that begin with the same letter, e.g. Two toads were totally tired.
Assonance: contains the same vowel sounds, e.g. the half-heard word stirred
cohesion : joining aspects of the poem so that the whole poem is ‘one’ expression or idea, often by constant or regular references to particular sounds, assonances, or alliterations in different parts of the poem.
collocation: implied collocation : ‘the tall building’, ‘the high building’, ‘the tall man’ are phrases which contain words that are often associated together i.e. they are common collocations – but ‘the high man’ is seldom used, ‘high’ is not usually associated or collocated with ‘man’ (depending on context). We may think of common collocations with a word or words in the poem that are not present but may be implied by the context.
comparison, simile, e.g. The thief was as cunning as a fox.
Connotations and implied connotations i.e. associated meanings e.g .the word ‘fly’ may remind us of the phrase ‘fly high’ or ‘do well’, or fly away : – run away, or escape. Alternatively, depending on the situation or ‘context’, we may be reminded of a wish to be a ‘fly on the wall’ to hear or see something that we would not expect to be able to.
Contrast: e.g. He was as clumsy as a drunken tramp. She was as dainty as a cat.
euphemism hints at a harsh truth, e.g. saying ‘He passed away.’ instead of ‘He died.’
enjambment continuing a line into the next one without a break sometimes in order to give more weight or importance to the idea(s) expressed
figurative language has a hidden meaning, e.g. he has a finger in every pie meaning he is involved in many different activities
grammar: use of specific grammatical structures for emphasis e.g. in the line ‘The free bird leaps’, the poet uses ‘the’ instead of ‘a’, meaning that ‘the free bird’ mentioned in the poem is not one bird, but represents all types of free birds.
hyperbole exaggerates, e.g. I drank gallons of lemonade.
imagery uses words that appeal to the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell or taste, e.g. the rosy clouds
literal use of words e.g. He put his finger into the pie to taste it.
litotes, under-statement e.g. He passed with 100 per cent, so he knows a little of his subject.
metaphor e.g. The man was a fox.
onomatopoeia, words sound like the sounds they represent e.g. squelching footsteps
paradox, something true which appears to be a contradiction, e.g. The truer the statement, the more it is disbelieved.
personification, like human beings, e.g. The flowers danced.
Worksheet 2 Poetic styles choose from: lyric, Romantic, comical, narrative, allegorical, monologue, low burlesque, classical, elegy, ode, pastoral

e.g. Is it a lyric poem that reveals what the poet is thinking and feeling?
Is it _______poetry that contains personal, emotional language especially about the beauty of the world around us or about love?
Is it an example of Metaphysical poetry? Does it dwell on the magnificence of the universe, infinity and/or man’s undefeatable spirit?
Is it a mystic poem that reaches beyond our normal consciousness?
Is it an intellectual poem that displays the poet’s skill with words and the shape of the poem?
Is it________? Does it try to make you laugh?
Is it a ________poem that tells a story?
Is it an instructive poem that has a lesson for us to learn?
Is it a moralizing poem that exhorts its readers to be good and shun evil?
Is it a fanciful poem that stretches our imagination to the limit?
Is it a symbolic or ‘________’ poem that is about something real that represents something much deeper e.g. a dove that symbolises peace?
Is it a ________in which a particular character is speaking?
Does the poem sound like a letter? Is it an epistle poem?
Is it a burlesque that treats a serious subject humorously?
Is it high burlesque that takes something unimportant and makes it out to be very important?
Is it ___________that takes something important and makes it out to be unimportant?
Is it a Carpe diem poem that is about living for today?
Is it a ________poem that relates to the ideals of beauty?
Is it doggerel or unliterary humorous verse?
Is it an ________that expresses grief over the death of someone?
Is it an epic or a long serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure?
Is it an epigram that is very short, ironic and witty?
Is it an epitaph that is a commemorative inscription on a tomb?
Is it an epithalamium (epithalamion) that praises a bride and groom at a wedding?
Is it an Idyll (Idyl) that depicts a peaceful country scene or is a long poem telling a story about heroes of long ago?
Is it a ‘lay’ poem or a long mediaeval sung poem that tells a story?
Is it an ________that is a long lyric poem?
Is it a ________poem about peaceful and romantic country life?
Is it a pindaric ode that is a ceremonious poem that is balanced with question and answer-type lines?


Worksheet 2 ‘Answers’

Is it a lyric poem that reveals what the poet is thinking and feeling?
Is it Romantic poetry that contains personal, emotional language especially about the beauty of the world around us or about love?
Is it an example of Metaphysical poetry? Does it dwell on the magnificence of the universe, infinity and/or man’s undefeatable spirit?
Is it a mystic poem that reaches beyond our normal consciousness?
Is it an intellectual poem that displays the poet’s skill with words and the shape of the poem?
Is it comical? Does it try to make you laugh?
Is it a narrative poem that tells a story?
Is it an instructive poem that has a lesson for us to learn?
Is it a moralizing poem that exhorts its readers to be good and shun evil?
Is it a fanciful poem that stretches our imagination to the limit?
Is it a symbolic or ‘allegorical’ poem that is about something real that represents something much deeper e.g. a dove that symbolises peace?
Is it a monologue in which a particular character is speaking?
Does the poem sound like a letter? Is it an epistle poem?
Is it a burlesque that treats a serious subject humorously?
Is it high burlesque that takes something unimportant and makes it out to be very important?
Is it low burlesque that takes something important and makes it out to be unimportant?
Is it a Carpe diem poem that is about living for today?
Is it a classical poem that relates to the ideals of beauty?
Is it doggerel or unliterary humorous verse?
Is it an elegy that expresses grief over the death of someone?
Is it an epic or a long serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure?
Is it an epigram that is very short, ironic and witty?
Is it an epitaph that is a commemorative inscription on a tomb?
Is it an epithalamium (epithalamion) that praises a bride and groom at a wedding?
Is it an Idyll (Idyl) that depicts a peaceful country scene or is a long poem telling a story about heroes of long ago?
Is it a ‘lay’ poem or a long mediaeval sung poem that tells a story?
Is it an ode that is a long lyric poem?
Is it a pastoral poem about peaceful and romantic country life?
Is it a pindaric ode that is a ceremonious poem that is balanced with question and answer-type lines?


Worksheet 3 Poetry Structure

Fill the gaps: choose from: rhymes, sonnet, a couplet , free verse, Haiku, Name poetry, an ABC, metre, a rondeau, sound poetry, Tanka, ‘Visual’, an acrostic, rhythm, a limerick,

e.g. Is it a poem that rhymes e.g. the last words of the lines have the same vowel?
Is it ________poem that has lines that begin with letters of the alphabet?
Is it ________ poem in which the first letter of each line spells a word?
Is it ________or a poem of 2 lines that may or may not rhyme?
Is it ________ (vers libre) that has no fixed metrical pattern?
Is it ________ that has three lines with 5+7+5 short syllables that do not rhyme?
Is it ________ is a short humorous poem consisting of five anapaestic (two short followed by one long syllable) lines?
Is it ________ that uses the letters of a key word for the first letter of each line?
Is it ________or a lyrical poem of 10 or 13 lines with a repeated refrain?
Is it a ________ or a lyric poem that consists of 14 lines with a special rhyming scheme?
Is it ________or poetry without words?
Is it a ________or a Japanese poem of five lines of 5+7+5+7+7 syllables?
Is it ________or ‘Concrete’ poetry in which the meaning comes from the way the words are arranged on the page?
Does it have a regular ________e.g. ‘If music be the food of love play on’?
Is the ________the most common ‘iambic pentameter’ i.e. the same as in the sentence ‘If music be the food of love play on’?*


Worksheet 3 Poetry Structure ANSWERS choose from: rhymes, sonnet, a couplet , free verse, Haiku, Name poetry, an ABC, metre, a rondeau, sound poetry, Tanka, ‘Visual’, an acrostic, rhythm, a limerick,

Is it a poem that rhymes e.g. the last words of the lines have the same vowel?
Is it an ABC poem that has lines that begin with letters of the alphabet?
Is it an acrostic poem in which the first letter of each line spells a word?
Is it a couplet or a poem of 2 lines that may or may not rhyme?
Is it free verse (vers libre) that has no fixed metrical pattern?
Is it a Haiku that has three lines with 5+7+5 short syllables that do not rhyme?
Is it a limerick is a short humorous poem consisting of five anapaestic (two short followed by one long syllable) lines?
Is it Name poetry that uses the letters of a key word for the first letter of each line?
Is it a rondeau or a lyrical poem of 10 or 13 lines with a repeated refrain?
Is it a sonnet or a lyric poem that consists of 14 lines with a special rhyming scheme?
Is it sound poetry or poetry without words?
Is it a Tanka or a Japanese poem of five lines of 5+7+5+7+7 syllables?
Is it ‘Visual’ or ‘Concrete’ poetry in which the meaning comes from the way the words are arranged on the page?
Does it have a regular rhythm e.g. ‘If music be the food of love play on’?
Is the metre the most common ‘iambic pentameter’ i.e. the same as in the sentence ‘If music be the food of love play on’?*

(Explanation: ‘Penta’ means ‘five’ as in the word ‘pentagon’. e.g. the opening line of ‘Twelfth Night’ by William Shakespeare: ‘If músic bé the fóod of lóve play ón.’ has a repeated stress pattern (or ‘metre’) that consists of a weak syllable first followed by a strong syllable e.g. u / weak/strong as in e.g. ‘the food’ i.e. The pattern of Shakespeare’s line is u/u/u/u/u/ or ‘dee dum, dee dum, dee dum, dee dum, dee dum’. Five repetitions of the pattern is said to be five ‘feet’. )


We return to the example of prose and explore how and understanding of poetic devices can improve and develop students’ comprehension.
TEXTS
A. What poetic devices have been used in these texts?
B. What styles can you recognize?
C. What exercises can you use with beginners to explore these devices?
D. What exercises can you use with intermediate students to explore these devices?
E. What exercises can you use with adults to explore these styles?
F. What exercises can you use with beginners to explore these styles?
G. What exercises can you use with intermediate students to explore these styles?
H. What exercises can you use with beginners to explore these structures
I. What exercises can you use with intermediate students to explore these structures?
J. What exercises can you use with adults to explore these structures?
K. Discuss how this helps your students’ comprehension

1) Ruth Rendell (2007) Not in the Flesh Arrow Books p.9-10

It was a gentle sunny day, what weather forecasters were starting to call ‘quiet’ weather, the temperature high for September, all the leaves still on the trees and most of them still green. Summer flowers in pots and urns and windows still bloomed on and on, more luxuriantly than in August. Frosts were due, frosts would normally have come by now but none had. If this was global warming, and Wexford thought it must be, it disguised its awful face under a mask of mild innocence. The sky had become the ‘milky blue’ of midsummer covered with tiny white puffs of cloud.’
assonance ‘still on the trees… green’, ‘tiny white’
alliteration ‘mask of mild …’
personification ‘a gentle ..day’
‘it [the weather] disguised it’s awful face’
extended connotation: ‘global warming’ – bringing to mind a mammoth problem that concerns the whole world, rather than Wexford’s small area.
‘milky blue’, ‘milk’ and ‘blue’ are not usually collocated, but ‘milky’ brings to mind ‘milk’ which nourishes us from the time we are first born – thus giving the word ‘blue’ a sense of positive enrichment
onomatopoeia ‘puffs’ – although in this context, it suggests the shape rather than the actions of the clouds.
contrast: ‘temperature high… Frosts’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘a gentle sunny day’; ‘leaves still on the trees and most of them still green. Summer flowers in pots and urns and windows still bloomed’ etc.

2) Val McDermaid (2003The Distant Echo Harper Collins p. 9)

‘His fall was broken by something soft. Alex struggled to sit up, pushing against whatever it was he had landed on. Spluttering snow, he wiped his eyes with his tingling fingers, breathing hard through his nose in a bid to clear it of the freezing melt. He glanced around to see what had cushioned his landing just as the heads of his three companions appeared on the hillside to gloat over his farcical calamity.’

alliteration ‘something soft’; ‘struggled to sit’, spluttering snow;
assonance ‘wiped his eyes’ ‘tingling fingers’
onomatopoeia ‘spluttering’ snow
alliteration ‘farcical calamity’
contrast ‘broken … soft’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘Spluttering snow’; ‘wiped his eyes with his tingling fingers, breathing hard through his nose’ etc.
imagery appealing to sound: ‘Spluttering snow’
imagery appealing to touch: ‘pushing against whatever it was he had landed on’
imagery appealing to taste: ‘‘Spluttering snow’’

3) Barbara Taylor Bradford (2001) The Triumph of Katie Byrne HarperCollins p.14

‘Listening attentively, Carly was transported by Katie’s voice, as she always was. There was a lovely resonance to it full of nuances and feeling. … They all knew how serious [Katie] was about acting. [She] was dedicated, disciplined and very determined to succeed. Somehow, Katie knew how to act the parts she had chosen without having had too many lessons, while Denise and she sort of stumbled along as best they could. Fortunately they were improving, thanks to Katie’s relentless coaching and encouragement.’
alliteration ‘dedicated, disciplined and very determined’; ‘sort of stumbled’
figurative language: ‘transported’ not carried away in a vehicle, but ‘carried away’ in thought
imagery appealing to sound: ‘lovely resonance to it full of nuances and feeling’

4) Richard Hammond (2008) As you Do Phoenix p.11

‘We were sent to a ski resort and this was my first ever trip to such a place. I grew up in Birmingham and we didn’t go skiing. Skiing to us back then was like going on aeroplanes, something only for James Bond. We went camping once a year in the Forest of Dean. And there was no skiing there. As it turns out, skiing trips are pretty bloody annoying anyway. It’s mostly about queuing, skiing. You queue to get your breakfast in the stupid wooden hotel, you queue to get on the minibus or find a taxi to take you to the stupid skiing place at the bottom of the stupid hill. You queue to buy a pass, which you lose later in the day and then you get down to the serious queuing, at the point where you get on the lift at the bottom of the mountain to take you to the top. This technically, is not queuing, it’s something more akin to fighting, so I preferred this bit. You hang around in a big crowd on a sort of train platform. Except there are no tracks, just a big wire overhead. Eventually, the cable car device lumbers into view and disgorges a load of really annoying people with stupid smiles under their stupid hats on to the other side of the platform.’
implied connotation: ‘James Bond’, bringing to mind the dare-devil courageous spy in Ian Fleming’s novels.
cohesion: repetition of the word ‘skiing’, ‘bloody’, ‘queue’, ‘stupid’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘the cable car device lumbers into view and disgorges a load of really annoying people’
simile: ‘like going on aeroplanes’

5) P.D. James (2003) The Murder Room p.3

‘There had been no smoking at the meeting but the room had seemed musty with spent breath and now he took pleasure in breathing fresh air, however briefly. It was a blustery day but unseasonably mild. The bunched clouds were tumbling across a sky of translucent blue and he could have imagined that this was spring except for the autumnal sea-tang of the river – surely half imagined- and the keenness of the buffeting wind as he came out of the station.’
assonance: ‘translucent blue’; ‘spent breath’
personification: ‘sea-tang’ ‘keenness’
implied collocation: ‘spent breath’ – the usual collocation is ‘stale breath’ – this collocation brings to mind: used up, old, breath thrown/given away like money when spending
contrast: ‘spent breath and now he took pleasure in breathing fresh air’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘a blustery day but unseasonably mild. The bunched clouds were tumbling across a sky of translucent blue’ etc.
imagery appealing to smell:’ the room had seemed musty with spent breath’
imagery appealing to taste: ‘autumnal sea-tang of the river’
6) Flanagan, Richard (2013) The Narrow Road to the Deep North Vintage Books

‘Why at the beginning of things is there always light? Dorrigo Evans’ earliest memories were of sun flooding a church hall in which he sat with his mother and grandmother. A wooden church hall. Blinding light, and him toddling back and forth, in and out of its transcendent welcome, into the arms of women. Women who loved him. Like entering the sea and returning to the beach. Over and over.’
assonance: ‘Blinding light’; ‘transcendent welcome’
simile:…Women who loved him. Like entering the sea and returning to the beach’
implied collocations: sun ‘flooding’ – water usually floods; transcendent welcome – ‘transcendent’ is usually associated with going beyond the ordinary like the genius of Mozart suggesting a further device of hyperbole – the expected collocation here might be ‘enthusiastic welcome’ or ’very warm welcome’
cohesion: many references to light – in the first sentence ‘light’, then ‘sun’ and ‘blinding light’ associated with brightness and the warmth of the love of the women.
imagery appealing to sight: ‘sun flooding a church hall’ etc.
imagery appealing to touch: ‘transcendent welcome, into the arms of women. Women who loved him. Like entering the sea’

7) du Maurier, Daphne (1938) ‘Rebecca’ Penguin chapter 1 page 6

‘There was Manderely, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the grey stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and the terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand. ‘
alliteration: ‘secretive and silent’; ‘the hollow of a hand’
personification: [the house] being ‘secretive and silent’; ‘Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls’
metaphor: [the house is] ‘a jewel in the hollow of a hand’
extended collocation: ‘jewel’ – the usual collocation is ‘precious jewel’ this house is special, i.e. ‘precious’ and important to the narrator, just as jewels are precious and important treasures for most people.
cohesion: references to light and shade.: ‘the grey stone shining …in the moonlight …the mullioned windows reflecting…a jewel (jewels are often described as ‘sparkling’ in the light,) ‘the hollow of a hand‘ (a hollow brings to mind the darkness of the bottom of the hollow’
contrast ‘grey… shining’; ‘wreck … perfect’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘grey stone shining in the moonlight’ etc.

8) Ustinov, Peter (1977) Dear Me, Penguin chapter 1 page 21

‘I remember my grandmother quite well as one of the simplest and most sentimental of souls, and with the readiest of tears. The story of the Crucifixion was enough to set her off, as though it were not so much a monumental tragedy as a personal misfortune. When it came to the two robbers, the sobbing began. It was her habit to capture me and place me on her knee for the evening recital, pressing me to her ample bosom, and I still remember my striped flannel pyjama-tops dampened by tears which soon grew chill against the skin.’
alliteration: ‘simplest and most sentimental of souls’
assonance: ‘chill against the skin’
personification: ‘readiest of tears’
extended collocations: ‘monumental tragedy’ – the usual collocation is a terrible/awful/great tragedy – ‘monumental’ not only suggests the foundation of the beliefs associated with the Crucifixion that in many cultures throughout the world by also uses hyperbole by exaggerating the ‘greatness’ of the tragedy.
‘capture’ me – also uses hyperbole – his grandmother did not just ‘take him in her arms’ – the usual phrase used in this situation, ‘capture’ suggests imprisonment, Peter went to his grandmother unwillingly which, although true, the underlying meanings implied in the whole of the text suggests that he also loved his grandmother. ‘capture’ can also be associated with the way in which an artist can capture particular meanings/ effects intended in the portrait or piece of music, thus suggesting Peter was fascinated by this experience in spite of his discomfort.
cohesion: references to the story of the Crucifixion and good/evil ‘soul …tears. The story of the Crucifixion …tragedy …the two robbers, the sobbing …capture me …striped flannel pyjama-tops [reminding us of the clothes warn by victims of the holocaust] dampened by tears … chill’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘place me on her knee for the evening recital, pressing me to her ample bosom,’ etc.
imagery appealing to sound: ‘the sobbing began’
imagery appealing to touch: ‘pressing me to her ample bosom,’

9) James, P. D. (2003) The Murder Room Faber and Faber chapter 3 p.38

‘Emma loved Cambridge at the start of the academic year. Her mental picture of summer was of shimmering stones seen through a haze of heat, of shadowed lawns, flowers casting their scent against sun-burnished walls, of punts being driven with practised energy through sparkling water or rocking gently under laden boughs, of distant dance music and calling voices.’
alliteration: ‘haze of heat’
personification: ‘flowers casting’
extended collocation: ‘laden boughs’ – a usual collocation of ‘boughs’ is ‘heavy’ which suggests the bough is large and thick – more is added to our impression of this bough by extending it to include a large amount of summer foliage – making it heavy or ‘loaded’ i.e. laden.
cohesion: constant mention of associations with summer: ‘summer … shimmering stones …a haze of heat, … shadowed lawns, flowers … scent … sun-burnished walls, punts …sparkling water … rocking gently … laden boughs,’
contrast: ‘practised energy … rocking gently’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘shimmering stones seen through a haze of heat, of shadowed lawns, flowers … sun-burnished walls’ etc.
imagery appealing to sound: ‘distant dance music and calling voices’
imagery appealing to smell: ‘flowers casting their scent’

10) Martel, Yann (2013) Life of Pi Canon books Ltd chapter 45 p.162 – 163

‘Sometime that afternoon I saw the first specimen of what would become a dear, reliable friend of mine. There was a bumping and scraping sound against the hull of the lifeboat. A few seconds later, so close to the boat I could have leaned down and grabbed it, a large sea turtle appeared, a hawksbill, flippers lazily turning, head sticking out of the water. It was striking-looking in an ugly sort of way, with a rugged yellowish-brown shell about three feet long and spotted with patches of algae, and a dark green face with a sharp beak, no lips, two solid holes for nostrils and black eyes that stared at me intently. The expression was haughty and severe like that of an ill-tempered old man who has complaining on his mind.’
onomatopoeia: ‘a bumping and scraping sound’
personification: [the turtle] ‘was striking-looking in an ugly sort of way; [the turtle had] ‘a dark green face with a sharp beak, no lips, two solid holes for nostrils and black eyes that stared at me intently. The expression was haughty and severe’
simile: ‘like that of an ill-tempered old man who has complaining on his mind’
extended connotation: ‘first specimen’ – although specimens are usually associated with ‘first’, ‘second’ etc., in this context, the author is suggesting that he is not so much ‘involved’ with the subject of his interest as an outside observer, like a scientist, but is personally involved in a number of different species that he meets, this being the first. The inference of a scientific observation helps us believe that his descriptions are deeper and more meaningful than might otherwise have been the case. .
cohesion: mentioning the turtle as if it were a newly acquired (human) friend
‘a dear, reliable friend of mine…so close… striking-looking…ugly sort of way, rugged a dark green face with a sharp beak, no lips, two solid holes for nostrils and black eyes that stared at me intently. The expression was haughty and severe like that of an ill-tempered old man who has complaining on his mind.’
imagery appealing to sight: ‘a large sea turtle appeared, a hawksbill, flippers lazily turning, head sticking out of the water. It was striking-looking’ etc.
imagery appealing to sound: ‘There was a bumping and scraping’
imagery appealing to touch: ‘I could have leaned down and grabbed it,’

How to use this knowledge to improve students’ comprehension
1. beginners: (words only)
take one noun from the text and ask the students to name other words that they associate with this word. Allow them to use their own language first then translate into English
e.g. day (night, daytime, morning, afternoon, evening …
associated adjectives: In groups, how many adjectives for ‘day’ can they name sunny day, happy day, dull day. …
use the poetic devices for team games:
alliteration, choose a word e.g. day – how many other words beginning with d can you name e.g. day, dog,
assonance, choose a word e.g. day – how many other words that contain the same sounding vowel can you name e.g. day, way, weigh
simile, choose a word e.g. day – how many similes can you make associated with the word e.g. The sunny day was like a smile.
contrast, choose a word each, the other team names an opposite e.g. day – night
(imagery) appealing to what you see: find two example words e.g. ‘sunny day’
(imagery) appealing to what you hear: (+onomatopoeia) e.g. bang, cluck, hoot, giggle
(imagery) appealing to what you touch: e.g. adjectives: smooth, rough, cold, hot
(imagery )appealing to what you smell: nouns: different smells: e.g. curry, scent,
imagery )appealing to what you taste: salty, bitter, sweet
Then look for the poetic devices in texts
2. intermediate: common phrases using the same exercises as above.
Use the poetic devices to learn new figurative meanings:
e.g. idioms e.g. ‘an arm and a leg’, ‘every could has a silver lining’, ‘feel a bit under the weather’
Use styles of poetry to discuss styles of writing e.g. lyrical – writing that reveals what the author is thinking or feeling. e.g. ‘Alex struggled to sit up, pushing against whatever it was he had landed on. Spluttering snow.’ He was: uncomfortable, unhappy, in despair; probably: angry, embarrassed, shocked …
3. Advanced:
Analyse a text’s examples of poetic devices, style, structure and associated effects and meanings
Write paragraphs employing specific poetic devices or write in one of the poetic styles listed.

e.g. show the students a picture of a turtle and after they have attempted a description of their own, show them the paragraph from Martel, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi (2013) Canon books Ltd chapter 45 p.162 – 163
END

rjwestwell@hotmail.com

Advertisements