LIT1100 Introduction to Literature University of Northwestern – St. Paul

Poetry Forms Analysis

Directions: This analysis covers three specific poetry forms: sonnet, villanelle and ode. To complete this assignment, you will first download and print the Poetry Forms note sheet to fill in as you listen to the poetry forms multi-media presentation. The note sheet is in the weekly handouts folder, and the presentation is linked under the Week 3 Learning Resources. Following the presentation, you will assess your understanding of these forms by reading and analyzing all three types of poems. Please type your responses in a word processing file and submit to the course site (don’t forget the questions on page 2 of this handout!). Remember that you must cite specific examples from the text to support and illustrate your answers. Note: you may use your poetry forms notes, chapters 8, 9, & 10 from An Introduction to Poetry: A Complete Online Course to answer these questions. The poems themselves are linked in the Week 3 agenda under Poetry Readings and Activities.

A. Sonnet Assessment Read the following two sonnets and then answer the following four questions.

"Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" by William Shakespeare "My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun" by William Shakespeare

1. "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" is considered one of the most famous and greatest love poems. Shakespeare is claiming that his love is far more beautiful even than a summer's day. What qualities of his lover (read beyond just beauty) are superior to a summer day? (5 pts)

2. Paraphrase the couplet (the last two lines) in “Shall I Compare”; what is Shakespeare

saying about art (i.e. this poem) and love? (5 pts.)

3. In the sonnet “My Mistress’ Eyes,” the reader might first think Shakespeare is saying his mistress (beloved or chosen one) is not beautiful; however, this poem is saying quite the contrary. In this poem, he is refusing to utilize the cliché or excess metaphor, and he actually asserts the beauty of his beloved in the last two lines. Paraphrase (put into your own words) the last two lines. (5 pts.)

4. What do these two sonnets say about the nature or capability of poetry? (5 pts.)

LIT1100 Introduction to Literature University of Northwestern – St. Paul

B. Villanelle Assessment Read the following poem and then answer questions 5 and 6.

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

5. In this villanelle, Thomas introduces several examples of people who might be expected to acquiesce to death gently but who, nonetheless, resist it. List two of these types of people. (2 pts.)

6. What is Dylan saying to his dying father through this poem? (3 pts.)

C. Ode Assessment Read the following poem and then answer questions 7 and 8.

“Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

7. The west wind in England is hailed as the harbinger (forerunner) of spring. In this poem, Shelley is paying tribute to the wind. What is the speaker’s situation in this poem? What is his “sore need” (line 52), and what does the speaker ask of the wind in lines 57-70? (4 pts.)

8. What does the wind symbolize in this ode? (1 pt.)

  • Directions:
  • A. Sonnet Assessment
  • B. Villanelle Assessment
  • C. Ode Assessment
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