Many people are intimidated by the mention of the word ‘portray’ because it is perceived as something cryptic and beyond understanding.
It is reflected in the voice of the time where subject matter and language choices may change with whatever is considered an everyday concern in the current expectations of society.
There are, however, pieces of information that can help us grasp and analyze poetry, and then find our own poetic devices.
Enthrallingly, this is what the poet has achieved in this book as he has provided Word List with Meanings and Revision Questions at the end of each poem to enable the readers correctly analyze and appreciate the poem after reading.
It is an anthology of poems with variegated thematic concerns which capture the social, emotional, economic, cultural, and political experiences of man.
The issues discussed by the poet range from hypocrisy, attitude, love, power, damnation, strained relationships, peace, morals, corrections, conflicts resolutions, love, death, pride, power, peace, wickedness, brutality, consequences, revenge, honor, and respect life issues to vanity.
The poet treats life as an undulation of sadness, joy, tolerance, hardship, failure, and success.
The selected 60 poems are divided into main themes, namely hypocrisy, wickedness, attitude, love and romance, truth and life, and conflict and death.
Poems Addressing Hypocrisy
There are poems addressing hypocrisy. They are ‘I Point My Index Finger at You, Our Heritage, Our Pride, Fake Life, and Why’.
Poems Addressing Wickedness and Brutality
There are poems addressing wickedness and brutality. They are ‘Revenge, Jezebel Scam, Satire, and Gossips’.
Poems Addressing Attitude
There are poems addressing attitude. They are ‘Hand to Mouth, Daydreamer, Souls of Business, There is a Stone for Every Goliath, and Pride and Power’.
Poems Addressing Love and Romance
The next poems are those who are addressing love and romance. They are ‘A Teacher by Example, A Unique Treasure, and Beauty.
Poems Addressing Truth and Life
Some poems address truth and life. They are ‘Truth Is No Longer Priceless, Integrity, Vanity, Life Mystery, and Idle Hands.
Poems Addressing Conflict and Death
Some poems address conflict and death. The poems are ‘Bomb Blast and COVID-19’.
Purpose of these Poems
The video is recorded on each of the poems. These are poem-reading presentations and the listeners are expected to listen, subscribe and share.
You can also get the book online where you can get access to other poems. You will read further, analyze and answer the questions.
Knowledge Needed for the Analysis of Poems
Poetry as a piece of literary work, whether spoken or written, expresses and communicates thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, and emotions beautifully using imagery, rhythm, and sound. It is usually written in verse with lyrical effects.
In To achieve the effect, a poet chooses words that convey meanings through their sounds and that also create images in the readers’ minds. Poetry has music, rhythm, and rhyme.
That is words in a poem are arranged in lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and sometimes with a rhyme in the end. The ideas in a poem are arranged into lines and stanzas.
To analyze a poem, a reader needs to understand how the poet uses words and sound devices to create images and to bring out his meaning. Thus, the following elements which give poetry its uniqueness in language and meaning will be treated.
The following are major forms of poetry: narrative poetry, satirical poetry, dramatic poetry, and lyrical poetry.
Features of poetry
- Poetry is written in verse, in the form of stanzas and lines.
- Poetry is metrical in arrangement.
- It is usually lyrical.
- It makes use of figurative language.
- It expresses a thought, ideas, and experiences sometimes in a concise form.
Types of poetry
- Ballad: the word ‘ballad’ is out of current use. The poem derives from the village festival and is not often written but handed down orally from generation to generation, e.g. Ekun iyawo, Ijala Ode, etc.
- Epic: This poem narrates heroes and their deeds, e, g Milton’s Paradise Lost, Soyinka’s guidance
- Elegy/Dirge: The poem of lamentation and a song of mourning and a sorrowful event such as the death of a bosom friend, Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
- Lyric: A poem to be sung to the lyre. It is sung during the burial of the dead or the marriage ceremonies, e.g. J. P. Clarks Streamside Exchange
- Ode: An ode is a written or spoken poem addressing somebody or something to mark a special occasion.
- Pastoral poem: this poem celebrates the lives of the country and people.
- Narrative poem: This is a long poem that tells a story, e.g. Samuel Coleridge’s The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
- Panegyrics/Eulogy: It is a praise poem dedicated to the glorification (praising) of the attributes or qualities of a person, an animal, a place or event, and an object.
Tools to consider in analyzing poems
- Stanzas/Rhymes: This is the division in the formal pattern of a person. It could be two, three, or more lines. Rhyme is the exact correspondence in sound or word-ending, usually at the end of each poem. The arrangements of the stanzas should be considered. Learn how they are arranged below.
- If we have a two-line stanza, we have a couplet
- If we have a three-line stanza we have a triplet
- If we have a four-line stanza, we have a quatrain
- If we have a five-line stanza we have a quintet
- If we have a six-line stanza we have a sestet
- If we have a seven-line stanza we have a septet
- If we have an eight-line stanza we have an octave
- Rhythm: This is a metrical movement determined between sounds and events.
- Tone/mood: These are the feelings or state of mind of the poet. It is the frame of mind in which the poet was when composing his work.
- Atmosphere: This is the prevalent mood, feelings, and thoughts or actions of people in a poem.
- Enjambment: This is also known as (run-on-line). It occurs when the ideas in a line of verse move from one line to the join that follows it.
- Imagery: It is the use of words to form mental pictures. A poet could use words to draw a picture of situations whose ordinary words cannot convey effectively.
- Metre: This is the arrangement of the stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem to give a particular rhythmic effect.
- The content of the poem: The content is the main body of the poem and you should understand the message and subject matter.
- The structure of the poem: the structure of the poem is to be considered, such as stanzas, verses, and lines.
- Language and style of the poem: The style, figures of speech, and theme are to be considered. The style is the way the language is structured. It is the manner the poem is done. The theme is the central idea and the dominating point of the poem. The figures of the speech are simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, euphemism, etc.