Individual: Select a poem to use for your podcast.
The following is a list of poems you can choose from to recite on your Figurative Language Poetry Podcast...
Examples of Poems Using Imagery
1. "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth - Wordsworth suggests that being one with nature equates to being one with the Universe or God. The first two stanzas are full of images; the final two stanzas contain the poet's reflections about the images.
2. "The Eagle" by Alfred Lord Tennyson - The first stanza focuses on the harshness of nature. The second stanza focuses on the majesty of nature. I recommend reading this poem aloud and throwing something (like a thunderbolt) against the wall on the last line. Remind students that authors use imagery in poetry to create a specific feeling.
3. "Rocking" by Gabriela Mistral - Mistral uses images of the divine sea and connects them to the rocking of her son. She then connects the image of the sea to the image of God, equating motherhood to godliness.
4. "Summer" by Walter Dean Myers - As you've probably guessed, "Summer" describes summer using images of "Bugs buzzin from cousin to cousin," and "Juices dripping running and ripping" (3-5). "Summer" makes a fun poem for young scholars to learn imagery.
5. "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe" - Poe's classic serves as an example for just about every element of poetry. Imagery is no exception. Discuss how Poe's images contribute to the ominous setting of the narrative.
6. “Eulogy for a Hermit Crab" by Pattiann Rogers - Rogers description of a hermit crab conveys her love of nature and the majesty of all god's creatures. (The Poem is near the bottom.)
Examples of Poems with Similes
1. "A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes: The Harlem Renaissance produced poetry that screams against racism and its effects on the individual. Hughes poses several questions regarding the results of deferred dreams. It touches, through deft use of simile, the end result of discouragement and unfairness.
2. "Red, Red Rose" by Robert Burns: Burns writes the classic love poem, comparing his love to a red rose and a melody in the first stanza. The final two stanzas end with hyperbolic love declarations that seem utterly ridiculous and cliche to normal human beings, but wildly romantic to hormone crazed teens.
3. "Simile" by N. Scott Momaday - As the title implies, the entire peom is a simile. Momaday compares Native Americans to the deer he used to hunt. Momaday's simile contains much latent meaning.
4. "The Base Stealer" by Robert Francis - Prove that poetry isn't just for nature loving, overly constipated geeks. Robert Francis' description of a base stealer captures the intensity of speed on the bases.
5. "To Satch" by Samuel Allen - Since we're on the subject of baseball, try this dedication to Satchel Paige. As you've probably gathered, I'm a big fan of mimickry. Instruct students to write a similar poem to one of their favorite stars.
6. Shakespeare Sonnet CXXX - Only Shakespeare could express his love through using insulting similes. Teenagers love making fun of people. Let them make some simile insults.
Examples of Poems with Metaphors
1. "I know why the caged bird sings" by Maya Angelou - This metaphor poem is perhaps the most famous. Angelou uses a caged bird and its song of freedom as a metaphor for her people. The metaphor of a caged bird can be applied to any opressed group or individuals.
2. "Sympathy" by Paul Laurence Dunbar - Dunbar takes up the caged bird metaphor and uses a first person perspective to explain how the caged bird feels and why the caged bird sings.
3. "Well, I Have Lost You; and I Lost You Fairly" by Edna St. Vincent Millay - Since we're discussing caged bird metaphors--Millay uses the bird in a cage metaphor to explain why she lost her lover.
4. "Alley Rats" by Carl Sandburg - Sandburg satirizes the use of metaphoric nicknames used for gangsters and their facial hair. Read carefully, for the ending is metaphorically ironic. The title of the poem refers to the lowlife scum that inhabit certain cities, yet receive favorable press through the use of "cute" nicknames.
5. "The Glory of the Day Was in Her Face" by James Weldon Johnson - Johnson uses metaphors associated with living and nature to describe how the woman he loves makes him complete. Since his lover is gone, he no longer enjoys the very things she reminded him of.
Examples of Poems with Personification
1. "The Cat and the Fiddle" by Mother Goose
2. "Two Sunflowers Move in the Yellow Room" by William Blake - British Romantic Poets mastered the use of figurative language, personification being no exception. Since sunflowers do not speak or count, this is an excellent example of personification. The question to be asked is, why does Blake use personification to describe this scene with sunflowers?
3. "The Railway Train" by Emily Dickinson - Dickinson's description of trains reflects the hustle and bustle of life, which she ironically never actually experienced, being a reclusive heart-broken freak.
4. "She sweeps with many-colored Brooms" by Emily Dickinson - The "she" in this poem is a sunset, the "housewife in the evening west."
5. "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth - Wordsworth describes dancing daffodils with heads gathered in a crowd next to waves that also dance.
6. "Brown Penny" by William Butler Yeats - An excellent love poem for sappy teenagers--it includes run away stars, and moon-eating shadows.