Poetry: Speaker, Tone, and Irony

Poetry: Speaker, Tone, and Irony

Poetry: Speakers and Tone What is the Speaker of a Poem? The speaker in a poem is like the narrator in a short story. Some speakers are virtually indistinguishable from the poet, some are not. Speaker =/= poet. It is, instead, a mask or persona. Some speakers are fully developed characters, and others are more of a mystery and reveal

themselves only through tantalizing hints. Learn more about speakers by reading the section in your text book on p. 480. "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson p. 480 The book mentions that the speaker here is at first "mischievous." Why? How does the speaker come to be more complex as the poem progresses?

The poem inverts commonly held ideas about fame. How? Does examining the speaker here help you as a reader to get more out of the poem? "My Grandmother Would Rock Quietly and Hum" by Leonard Adame p. 482 What words, what images reveal this speakers tone, or attitude, toward his grandmother and his heritage?

This poem is also loaded with imagery. (Descriptions that appeal to the senses.) What images are striking to you? Are the images symbolic of anything? Woolworth Building, completed 1913 "Negro" by Langston Hughes p. 484 Who is the speaker here?

What comparisons can you make to My Grandmother Would Rock Quietly and Hum, which has a very personal, individual speaker? What images caught your attention as you read this poem? A Relevant Quote from Dr. King Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look

in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word black. It's always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word white. It's always something pure, high, and clean. But I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out: Yes, I'm black! I'm proud of it! I'm black and beautiful! - Martin Luther King Jr. "In a Station on a Metro" by Ezra Pound p.

536 First, read the poem to yourself. List everything that you see going on in the poem. What contrasts are created by these two lines? What associations do you have with the images and the settings? This poem is remarkable for its brevity. How do you think that brevity contributes to the effect of the poem?

Suicide Note by Janice Mirikitani p. 488 What patterns of imagery do you notice in this poem? What do they tell you about how the speaker views herself? What is the speakers attitude about her parents? What reaction do you think the audience is meant to have to this situation? What do you think about the "not good enough" interruptions? Are they meant to be read as part of the actual note? (Notice

the lack of capital letters and punctuation.)

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