Elements of Poetry Part Three: Sound, Rhythm, Meter, Structure and Theme
Sound Rhyme Matching of sounds in two or more words End Rhyme Corresponding sounds at the end of lines Internal Rhyme Corresponding sounds occur within the lines
From “The Raven”by Edgar Allan Poe “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore --- While I nodded nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As some one gently tapping, rapping at my chamber door. “ ‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door --- Only this and nothing more.”
Perfect/Exact Rhyme Rhyming words share corresponding sounds and stresses, similar number of syllables “Weary” and “dreary”; “lore” and “door” Imperfect/Approximate/Slant Rhyme “dizzy” and “easy” Feminine Rhyme Final syllable of a rhymed word is unstressed Masculine Rhyme Final syllable of rhymed word is stressed
Alliteration Repetition of consonant sounds Usually at the beginning of words Peter Piper picked a pickle Assonance Repetition of vowel sounds
Rhythm and Meter Rhythm Regular occurrence of accent or stress in poem or song “JACK and JILL went UP the HILL” Meter Measure or patterned count of a line Count of stresses in a poem’s rhythm
Meter Foot Unit of poetic meter Iambic iamb Unstressed syllable followed by an accented one “preVENT” “conTAIN” Trochaic Trochee Accented syllable followed by unaccented one “FOOTball” “LANGuage”
Foot Anapestic Anapest Two unaccented syllables followed by an unaccented one “com-pre-HEND” Dactylic Dactyl Accented syllable followed by two unaccented ones “CHEER-ful-ly”
Foot Spondee Two accented syllables together “KNICK-KNACK” Pyrrhic Two unaccented syllables “of the” Both can serve as the subsitute feet for iambic and trochaic feet Cannot be the metrical norm for a poem
Rising Meter Move from unaccented to accented Iambic and anapestic Falling Meter Move from accented to unaccented Dactylic and trochaic
Lines of Poetry Named based on numbers of feet in the line Tetrameter, pentameter, monometer, etc.
Enjambed Run-on lines that may confuse the observation of meter and rhythm Metrical Variation Change in meter to avoid monotony
Structure Closed Form Strictly constrained form Sonnet (MUST have 14 lines, etc.) Quatrain Four line sections Couplet Pair of rhymed lines Open Form/Free Form NOT formless, but allows poet to use multiple forms and bend rules
Theme Idea or meaning inherent in a work Poems are easy to oversimplify – be aware of the increased imagery and metaphor.