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Setting the mood in poetry by the use of appropriate imagery
Mood in Poetry
by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

Goal: This exercise helps writers to understand how descriptive words effect and/or set the mood in poetry. (This can also help writers understand mood in any type of writing.)

NOTES: A scene can be one actually seen or one created in the imagination. Enough detail, including sensory descriptions, should be given to create imagery. The reader should be able to “see” the scene described.
         For a solemn mood, the writer would not use cheerful words. For a cheerful poem, the writer would not use glum or dark words.

Materials needed:
         sample list of sensory words

         poetry devices list

         example poems


1. Read both versions of poetry on example handout.

2. Consider similarities in the poems.

3. Consider differences in the poems.

4. Find devices used in the poems.

5. Write group scene poem on board.

6. Consider ways to make the poem show opposite mood.


Write scene poems with opposite moods.

1. Write a scene poem of six lines or more. Use at least four devices other than enjambement and caesura.

2. Revise the poem to be opposite in mood from the first poem.

3. Write a final copy of both poems.

Examples of Opposite Mood Scene Poetry

Example of gloomy mood:

         Winter Garden

Stark naked flower stalks
Stand shivering in the wind.
The cheerless sun hides its black light
Behind bleak, angry clouds,
While trees vainly try
To catch their escaping leaves.
Carpets of grass turn brown,
Blending morosely with the dreary day.
Winter seems the death of life forever.

(poetry devices used: alliteration, personification, enjambement, caesura, oxymoron, metaphor, hyperbole)

Example of cheerful mood:

         Spring Garden

Stunningly dressed flower stalks
Stand shimmering in the breeze.
The cheerful sun hides playfully
Behind white, fluffy, cotton-ball clouds,
While trees whisper secrets
To their rustling leaves.
Carpets of grass greenly glow
Blending joyfully with the day.
Spring brings life to death.

(Poetry devices used: alliteration, personification, caesura, enjambement, metaphor, simile)
© Copyright 2003 Vivian (vzabel at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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