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Notes for Introduction to Literature
The Craft of Poetry ~ Sound
To study the sound of poems, we can use the information in The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature 6/e. Read pp. 662 - 672; 687-692.
Alliteration--the repetition of consonant sounds ( / Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon / Leap, plashless as they swim. - Dickenson, p.666)
Assonance--the repetition of the same vowel sound in nearby words (time and tide)
Euphony--lines that are musically pleasant to the ear; smooth and flowing
Cacophony--lines that are discordant and difficult to pronounce (see "Player Piano" by John Updike--p. 664)
Internal Rhyme--rhymes within lines
Feminine Rhyme--rhymed stressed syllables followed by one or more rhymed unstressed syllables (gratitude/attitude) words are longer and more syllables rhyme
Off rhyme/Slant Rhyme/Near Rhyme/Approximate Rhyme--the sounds are almost but not exactly alike.
Consonance--an identical consonant sound preceded by a different vowel sound: home, same; worth, breath; trophy, daffy.
Different consonant sounds and same vowel sounds also produce near rhyme: sound, sand; kind, conned; fellow, fallow.
unit of syllables, including (usually) one stressed and one or two unstressed.
Five kinds of feet are described in the textbook: the iamb, trochee, anapest,
dactyl, and spondee. They are differentiated by the number of syllables and
by where the stressed and unstressed syllables fall. A "stress" is
an accented syllable, and an "unstressed" syllable is an unaccented
Line--a measure of the number and type of feet. Counting the number of feet with the kind of stress, you can get a pretty exact description of a poem's predominant meter.
Caesura--a pause. Working in closed forms and exact meters, poets play with lines in various ways. One way is to vary the sound by using pauses and stops in the middle and at the ends of lines to vary the rhythm, create emphasis, or call attention to something.
End Stopped--when a line pauses at the end, either caesura or full stop
Enjambment--when a line or stanza does not pause at its end
Fixed Form Poetry--follows a prescribed meter or "form" (ballads, sonnets, haikus, etc.)
Stanzas--groups of lines
Rhyme Scheme--regular patterns of rhyme, usually measured by stanza
Couplets--two line stanzas
Tercets--three line stanzas
Quatrains--four line stanzas
Villanelle--a type of fixed form poetry consisting of nineteen lines of any length divided into six stanzas: five tercets and a concluding quatrain. The first and third lines of the initial tercet rhyme; these rhymes are repeated in each subsequent tercet (aba) and in the final two lines of the quatrain (abaa). Line 1 appears in its entirety as lines 6, 12, and 18, while line 3 reappears as lines 9, 15, and 19. Yikes! Read "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" (P. 715) and you'll see how powerful such a fixed form can be.
Open Form Poetry--doesn't conform to established patterns of meter, rhyme, and stanza. Such poetry derives its rhythmic qualities from the repetition of words, phrases, or grammatical structures, the arrangement of words on the printed page, or by some other means. The poet E.E. Cummings wrote open form poetry; his poems do not have measurable meters, but they do have rhythm.
Lyric--a type of brief poem that expresses the personal emotions and thoughts of a single speaker. Just about all of modern poetry is lyric poetry! It is important to realize, however, that although the lyric is uttered in the first person, the speaker is not necessarily the poet. There are many kinds of lyric poetry, including the dramatic monologue ("Hazel Tells Laverne," (p. 578) "My Last Duchess," (p. 657) "Theme for English B." (p. 830).
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