SOUND DEVICES USED IN POETRY

A List of Definitions
Sound devices are resources used by poets to convey and reinforce the meaning or experience of poetry through the skillful use of
sound. After all, poets are trying to use a concentrated blend of sound and imagery to create an emotional response. The words and
their order should evoke images, and the words themselves have sounds, which can reinforce or otherwise clarify those images. All in
all, the poet is trying to get you, the reader, to sense a particular thing, and the use of sound devices are some of the poet’s tools.
ACCENT
The rhythmically significant stress in the articulation of words, giving some syllables more relative prominence than others. In words of
two or more syllables, one syllable is almost invariably stressed more strongly than the other syllables. Words of one syllable may be
either stressed or unstressed, depending on the context in which they are used, but connective one-syllable words like, and, but, or,
to,etc., are generally unstressed. The words in a line of poetry are usually arranged so the accents occur at regular intervals, with
the meter defined by the placement of the accents within the foot. Accent should not be construed as emphasis.
Sidelight: Two degrees of accent are natural to many multisyllabic English words, designated as primary and secondary.
Sidelight: When a syllable is accented, it tends to be raised in pitch and lengthened. Any or a combination of
stress/pitch/length can be a metrical accent.
Sidelight: When the full accent falls on a vowel, as in PO-tion, that vowel is called a long vowel; when it falls on an
articulation or consonant, as in POR-tion, the preceding vowel is a short vowel.
ALLITERATION
Also called head rhyme or initial rhyme, the repetition of the initial sounds (usually consonants) of stressed syllables in neighboring
words or at short intervals within a line or passage, usually at word beginnings, as in "wild and woolly" or the line from the
poem, Darkness Lost:
From somewhere far beyond, the flag of fate's caprice unfurled,
Sidelight: The sounds of alliteration produce a gratifying effect to the ear and can also serve as a subtle connection or
emphasis of key words in the line, but should not "call attention" to themselves by strained usage.
ASSONANCE
The relatively close juxtaposition of the same or similar vowel sounds, but with different end consonants in a line or passage, thus a
vowel rhyme, as in the words, date and fade.
CONSONANCE
A pleasing combination of sounds; sounds in agreement with tone. Also, the repetition of the same end consonants of words such
as boat and night within or at the end of a line, or the words, cool andsoul, as used by Emily Dickinson in the third stanza of He
Fumbles at your Spirit.
CACOPHONY (cack-AH-fun-ee)
Discordant sounds in the jarring juxtaposition of harsh letters or syllables, sometimes inadvertent, but often deliberately used in poetry
for effect, as in the opening line of Fences:
Crawling, sprawling, breaching spokes of stone,
Sidelight: Sound devices are important to poetic effects; to create sounds appropriate to the content, the poet may
sometimes prefer to achieve a cacophonous effect instead of the more commonly sought-for euphony. The use of words
with the consonants b, k and p, for example, produce harsher sounds than the soft f and v or the liquid l, m and n.
DISSONANCE
A mingling or union of harsh, inharmonious sounds that are grating to the ear.
EUPHONY (YOO-fuh-nee)
Harmony or beauty of sound that provides a pleasing effect to the ear, usually sought-for in poetry for effect. It is achieved not only by
the selection of individual word-sounds, but also by their relationship in the repetition, proximity, and flow of sound patterns.
Sidelight: Vowel sounds are generally more pleasing to the ear than the consonants, so a line with a higher ratio of vowel
sounds will produce a more agreeable effect; also, the long vowels in words like moon and fate are more melodious than
the short vowels in cat and bed.
INTERNAL RHYME
Also called middle rhyme, a rhyme occurring within the line, as in the poem, The Matador:
His childhood fraught with lessons taught by want and misery
METER
A measure of rhythmic quantity, the organized succession of groups of syllables at basically regular intervals in a line of poetry,
according to definite metrical patterns. In classic Greek and Latinversification, meter depended on the way long and short syllables
were arranged to succeed one another, but in English the distinction is between accented and unaccented syllables. The unit of meter is
the foot. Metrical lines are named for the constituent foot and for the number of feet in the line: monometer (1), dimeter (2), trimeter
(3), tetrameter (4), pentameter (5), hexameter (6), heptameter (7) andoctameter (8); thus, a line containing five iambic feet, for
example, would be called iambic pentameter. Rarely does a metrical line exceed six feet.
Sidelight: In the composition of verse, poets sometimes make deviations from the systematic metrical patterns. This is
often desirable because (1) variations will avoid the mechanical "te-dum, te-dum" monotony of a too-regular rhythm and
(2) changes in the metrical pattern are an effective way to emphasize or reinforce meaning in the content. These variations
are introduced by substituting different feet at places within a line. (Poets can also employ a caesura, use run-on lines and
vary the degrees of accent by skillful word selection to modify the rhythmic pattern, a process called modulation. Accents

the first letters of each line are aligned vertically to form a word. Kinds of Poetry Acrostic Poetry: In Acrostic poems. Rhyme schemes are also significant factors in the definitions of whole poems. Of course. RHYTHM An essential of all poetry. such as. Sidelight: From an easy lilt to the rough cadence of a primitive chant. but not always. the prosaic ostensible meaning. terza rima. Many purists continue to use rime as the proper spelling of the word. NEAR RHYME Also called slant rhyme. Sidelight: Because sound is an important part of poetry. but the preceding consonant sounds must differ. or in place of. sonnet. bear and care. is called a rising or ascending rhythm. glint. sound symbolism.e. a rhyme in which the sounds are similar. glisten. stimulate intellectual appreciation. glitter. meter has become either irregular or non-existent. Sidelight: An example of word sounds in English with a common area of meaning is a group beginning with gl. rhythm is the organization of sound patterns the poet has created for pleasurable reading. therefore. limerick. The word often is the subject of the poem. ONOMATOPOEIA (ahn-uh-mah-tuh-PEE-uh) Strictly speaking. and serve to unify a poem. as in the dactyl or trochee. like whispering. MODULATION In poetry. but erroneous. PHONETIC SYMBOLISM Sound suggestiveness. such as ballade. some near rhymes in modern English were perfect rhymes when they were originally written in old English. RESONANCE The quality of richness or variety of sounds in poetic texture. rhymes occur at the ends of lines. a rhythmic pattern with the stress occurring on the first syllable of each foot. ceases now To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep. but not exact.) A proficient writer of poetry. Sidelight: Due to changes in pronunciation. as in home and come or close and lose. It is also called sound symbolism.. as in the iamb or anapest. rhyme royal. triolet and villanelle. variations in the patterns of rhyme schemes then became functional in defining diverse stanza forms. Sidelight: Modulation is a process by which the stress values of accents can be increased or decreased within a fixed metrical pattern. . and the thunder . Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic[1][2][3] qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics. clang and sizzle. and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to. RHYME In the specific sense. rondeau. but neither should the poet stray so far from the meter as to lose the musical value or emotional potential of rhythmical repetition. half rhyme. however. Usually. the harmonious use of language relative to the variations of stress and pitch. Sidelight: Though impossible to prove.heightened by semantic emphasis also provide diversity. the rise and fall of stress. the formation or use of words which imitate sounds. provide a powerful mnemonic device. some philologists (linguistic scientists) believe that all language originated through the onomatopoeic formation of words. is not a slave to the dictates of metrics. Terms like near rhyme. rhyme refers to a close similarity of sound as well as an exact correspondence. In a poetic sense. as in Milton's . . glimmer. the use of onomatopoeia is another subtle weapon in the poet's arsenal for the transfer of sense impressions through imagery. it includes the agreement of vowel sounds in assonance and the repetition of consonant sounds in consonance and alliteration. . which include:gleam. a type of echoing which utilizes a correspondence of sound in the final accented vowels and all that follows of two or more words. Sidelight: Early examples of English poetry used alliterative verse instead of rhyme. the spelling was changed due to the influence of its popular. theSpenserian stanza and others. Sidelight: Originally rime. . Differences as well as identity in sound echoes between words contribute to the euphonic effect. ottava rima. The use of rhyme in the end words of verse originally arose to compensate for the sometimes unsatisfactory quality of rhythm within the lines. and perfect rhyme function to distinguish between the types of rhyme without prejudicial intent and should not be interpreted as expressions of value. as in the words. . Sidelight: A rhythmic pattern in which the stress falls on the final syllable of each foot. The measure of rhythmic quantity is the meter. in modern free verse. the regular or progressive pattern of recurrent accents in the flow of a poem as determined by the arses and theses of the metrical feet. all having reference to light. off rhyme. is a falling or descending rhythm. association with the Latin word. glossy and glow. rhythmus. but the term is generally expanded to refer to any word whose sound is suggestive of its meaning. the association of particular word-sounds with common areas of meaning so that other words of similar sounds come to be associated with those meanings. i. glare. imperfect rhyme or half rhyme.

2 syllables Line 1: Panther Line 2: Sleek. She rocks and she rocks all day there. It consists of two lines with an end rhyme. like da DUM da da DUM da da DUM for the first. emerging Line 4: Happy to be free Line 5: Cat Concrete Poetry: Concrete poems form a picture of the topic or follows the contour of a shape that is suggested by the topic. second. There are many ways to write cinquain poems.one word or two syllables Line 2: Description or example of the title . The last words of the first. jumping. and fifth lines (A) and da da DUM da da DUM for the third and fourth lines (B). You need to think of a subject and its opposite and then follow the format listed below: First line: one word (subject). Cinquain poems do not rhyme. Grandmother sits in her old rocking chair. For example: Couplets: The couplet is the easiest of the verse forms. Here is an example of one cinquain pattern. Diamonte: Diamonte poems are easy poems to write. second.L oves to play on the computer A lways humorous U nique in every way R unning. the first two describe the subject and the last two describe its opposite Fifth line: three words ending in -ing telling about the opposite Sixth line: two adjectives describing the opposite Seventh line: one word (opposite from the first line) Example: Limericks: A limerick is a funny little poem containing five lines.a 3 word phrase or six syllables Line 4: a 4 word phrase describing a feeling about the title or 8 syllables Line 5: Synonym for the title .one word . graceful Line 3: Running.2 words or four syllables Line 3: Action about the title . Second line: two adjectives describing the subject Third line: three words ending in -ing telling about the subject Fourth line: four words. hiding. Line 1: Title . Make sure your limerick has the pattern by reciting it with “da” for all unaccented or unstressed syllables and “DUM for all the accented or stressed syllables. It should also have a rhythm pattern. and fifth lines rhyme with each other (A) and the last words of the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other so the pattern is AABBA. tumbling at gym E xceptionally bright L earner Cinquain: Cinquain poems are five lines long with a certain number of syllables or words in each. .

. such as Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. and friendships. Issa saw the beauty of the natural world around him. Subcategories of the lyric are. seasons. (A) da DUM da da DUM da da DUM Haiku: A form of centuries old Japanese poetry that consists of seventeen syllables and has nature as its subject or theme. nature. The sonnet was originally a love poem which dealt with the lover’s sufferings and hopes. the return of a king from exile (for instance Dryden’s Annus Mirabilis) or a death (for example Milton’sLycidas). Meredith) which depict the various stages of a love relationship. The “monster” was just a small squirrel. etc. In Browning's My Last Duchess for instance. It suggests that the reader look and listen to the world. he valued every living thing. Without intending to do so. sonnet and dramatic monologue and most occasional poetry: In modern usage. In a dramatic monologue a speaker. The sonnet uses a single stanza of (usually) fourteen lines and an intricate rhyme pattern (see stanza forms). the Duke shows the picture of his last wife to the emissary from his prospective new wife and reveals his excessive pride in his position and his jealous temperament. the term elegy is also used for solemn meditations. It is useful to keep two general distinctions in mind (for more detailed definitions consult Abrams 1999 and Preminger et al 1993): lyric poetry and narrative poetry. elegy is a formal lament for the death of a particular person (for example Tennyson’s In Memoriam A. He had a very sad life. More broadly defined. the sort of development that takes place depends to a considerable extent on the type of poem one is dealing with. Famous examples are Wordsworth’s Hymn to Duty or Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn. and 5 syllables in the third line. There once was a girl named Cheryl (A) da DUM da da DUM da da DUM 2. Drayton. It originated in Italy and became popular in England in the Renaissance. His mother died when he was two and his own four children all died before they were a year old. This poetry was created by a famous writer named Issa. for instance for religious experience (by Donne and Milton). She awoke wtth a fright B) da da DUM da da DUM 4. Shakespeare. Lyric Poetry A lyric poem is a comparatively short.). As a writer and poet. this sadness. for instance Spenser’s Epithalamion). Many poets wrote a series of sonnets linked by the same theme. makes a speech to a silent auditor in a specific situation and at a critical moment.H. often on questions of death.Here is an example of a limerick: 1. Barret-Browning. Who dreamed she was in great peril (A) da DUM da da DUM da da DUM 3. Occasional poetry is written for a specific occasion: a wedding (then it is called anepithalamion. Haiku is very short and has a 5-7-5 syllable structure with 5 syllables in the first line. 7 syllables in the second line. An ode is a long lyric poem with a serious subject written in an elevated style. With just a couple of words. Obviously. From the seventeenth century onwards the sonnet was also used for other topics than love. Lyric poetry retains some of the elements of song which is said to be its origin: For Greek writers the lyric was a song accompanied by the lyre. even insects. Spenser. haiku poetry conveys emotion. and wanted to share his love of nature through his haiku. who is explicitly someone other than the author. Issa took the time to listen and enjoy the beauty he found as he heard crickets chirp and as he gazed at the skies.H. reflections on art (by Keats or Shelley) or even the war experience (by Brooke or Owen). loneliness and compassion helped him be more sensitive to everything around him. it is useful first of all to consider the theme and the overalldevelopment of the theme in the poem. when Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey translated and imitated the sonnets written by Petrarch (Petrarchan sonnet). for example elegy. Here is an example of Tanka: Types of Poetry When studying poetry. The themes for Tanka are love. so-called sonnet cycles (for instance Petrarch. Haiku requires you to observe! Here is an example of haiku: As I lay and gaze Blue skies and white clouds Billowing high above me Tanka: Tanka is another form of Japanese poetry that consists of 31 syllables (5-7-5-7-7). the speaker reveals aspects of his temperament and character. non-narrative poem in which a single speaker presents a state of mind or an emotional state. ode. When she discovered the sight (B) da da DUM da da DUM 5.

often these approaches (like looking for certain poetic devices or examining the meaning of a specific phrase) do not require a complete and exhaustive analysis of a poem.  You have to decipher every single word to appreciate and enjoy the poem. there can be many different approaches to examining poetry. they tend to use an elevated style of language and supernatural beings take part in the action. that is. as in James Thomson’s The Seasons (Spring 379-442) or how to write good poetry as inAlexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism. The ballad stanza is usually a four-line stanza. Identify the speaker and the situation. which tells the story of a young beauty whose suitor secretly cuts off a lock of her hair. Horace famously demanded that poetry should combineprodesse (learning) and delectare (pleasure). click here. which tells a story. thinking about what message and emotion the poem communicates to you. including its rhyme and rhythm (if any). noting unusual words and associations. Moreover. this reflects the many different styles and objectives of poets themselves.Note any changes in the form of the poem that might signal a shift in point of view. The mock-epic makes use of epic conventions. STRUCTURE and POETRY An important method of analyzing a poem is to look at the stanza structure or style of a poem. many modern poems may not have any identifiable . the story of a father and son (like Wordsworth's Michael) or the deeds of a hero or heroine (likeWalter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel). A ballad is a song. The purpose of a didactic poem is primarily to teach something. Many poets like to "play" with the sound of language or offer an emotional insight by describing what they see in highly descriptive language. Descriptive and Didactic Poetry Both lyric and narrative poetry can contain lengthy and detailed descriptions (descriptive poetry) or scenes in direct speech (dramatic poetry). It is always told by a narrator. Re-read the poem slowly. Elements of Poetry POETRY ASSUMPTIONS Readers of poetry often bring with them many related assumptions:  That a poem is to be read for its "message. For an overview of the many ways to read a poem. like the elevated style and the assumption that the topic is of great importance. alternating tetrameter and trimeter. if you are the type to give up when something is unclear. There are no easy ways to dispel these biases. Poetry is difficult because very often its language is indirect.those things we think. Until the twentieth century all literature was expected to have a didactic purpose in a general sense. it propels characters through a plot. A famous example is Pope's The Rape of the Lock.Narrative Poetry Narrative poetry gives a verbal representation. Narrative poems might tell of a love story (like Tennyson's Maud). in verse. such as the founding of a nation ( Virgil’s Aeneid) or the beginning of world history (Milton'sParadise Lost). So. Finally. The lazy reader wants to be told things and usually avoids poetry because it demands commitment and energy.Read each line separately. feel. In fact. It is an important form of folk poetry which was adapted for literary uses from the sixteenth century onwards. both in length and topic. But so is experience . Look up words you are unsure of and struggle with word associations that may not seem logical to you. Study the structure of the poem. The twentieth century was more reluctant to proclaim literature openly as a teaching tool. of a sequence of connected events. theoretical or even practical knowledge. such as how to catch a fish.  The message is to be found by treating the words as symbols which naturally do not mean what they say but stand for something else."  That this message is "hidden" in the poem. Sub-categories of narrative poetry: Epics usually operate on a large scale. But it can also be meant as instructive in a general way. Again. structure has to do with the overall organization of lines and/or the conventional patterns of sound. and do. Use your prose reading skills to clarify what the poem is about. to impart moral. just relax! Like we just said. much of what poetry has to offer is not in the form of hidden meanings. This can take the form of very specific instructions. enjoy what you do understand! FIRST APPROACHES Read the poem (many students neglect this step). there can many different ways to enjoy poetry. Feel free to read it more than once! Read the sentences literally. Generally speaking. originally transmitted orally. to deal with completely insignificant occurrences.

rhyme scheme and/or metrical pattern. 2. with a serious subject. and then resolves the grief by concluding that death leads to immortality. but it usually begins by reminiscing about the dead person. Here are the three most common types of poemsaccording to form: 1. Sonnet: It is a lyric poem consisting of 14 lines and. which is more personal and introspective. The Italian/Petrarchan sonnet is named after Petrarch. Lyric Poetry: It is any poem with one speaker (not necessarily the poet) who expresses strong thoughts and feelings.5 syllables. the introduction of conflict and characters. They are the equivalent of a paragraph in an essay. Limerick: It has a very structured poem. in an aabba rhyming pattern. dealing with the founding of a nation or some other heroic theme requires a dignified theme requires an organic unity requires orderly progress of the action always has a heroic figure or figures involves supernatural forces  written in deliberately ceremonial style Other types of poems include: Haiku: It has an unrhymed verse form having three lines (a tercet) and usually 5. and tells the tales of ordinary people. Elegy: It is a lyric poem that mourns the dead. Qualities of an Epic Poem:  narrative poem of great scope. its structure resembles the plot line of a story [i. so don't panic if you can't find it! STANZAS: Stanzas are a series of lines grouped together and separated by an empty line from other stanzas. Most poems. has a simple rhythm structure. In a sense. especially modern ones. of course. It's usually considered a lyric poem. an Italian Renaissance poet. they may be a combination of 2 or 3 of the above styles! Here are some more types of poems that are subtypes of the three styles above: Ode: It is usually a lyric poem of moderate length. then laments the reason for the death. respectively. usually humorous & composed of five lines (a cinquain). It uses elaborate imagery and adjectives. Epic: It is a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero. or are free verse. The Petrarchan sonnet tends to divide the thought into two parts (argument and conclusion). almost all poems. are in one of the three categories above. The Shakespearean sonnet consists of three quatrains (four lines each) and a concluding couplet (two lines). 3.structure (i. in the English version. it is more "outward-focused" than lyric poetry. One way to identify a stanza is to count the number of lines. they are free verse). It can have a fairly formal style. rising action. [It's not to be confused with a eulogy. into four (the final couplet is the summary). are lyric poems. The Petrarchan sonnet consists of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). Or. Narrative Poem: It is a poem that tells a story. Ballad: It is a narrative poem that has a musical rhythm and can be sung. an elevated style. is usually written in iambic pentameter. and sound similar to an ode.e.e. but it can still be labeled according to its form or style. beat must . Descriptive Poem: It is a poem that describes the world that surrounds the speaker. whether they have consistent patterns of sound and/or structure. There are two basic kinds of sonnets: the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet and the Shakespearean (or Elizabethan/English) sonnet. the Shakespearean.]It has no set metric or stanzaic pattern.7. climax and the denouement]. While emotional. and an elaborate stanza pattern. It often uses "apostrophe" (calling out to the dead person) as a literary technique. A ballad is usually organized into quatrains or cinquains. Thus:  couplet (2 lines)  tercet (3 lines)  quatrain (4 lines)  cinquain (5 lines)  sestet (6 lines) (sometimes it's called a sexain)  septet (7 lines)  octave (8 lines) FORM: A poem may or may not have a specific number of lines.

Iamb (Iambic) . . a. Poetic Foot: The traditional line of metered poetry contains a number of rhythmical units. and a new letter is used to identify each new end sound. any line of poetry with a systematic rhythm has a certain number of feet. etc. who / shot at a / frog DDDB was a / butcher. and the windows are tossed. or LOUD) syllable U = an unstressed (or weak. From "The Writer". "In mist or cloud. which occurs at the end of two or more lines. The pattern. or quiet) syllable In other words. The rhyme scheme of the poem is abab. It's usually a narrative poem based upon a short and often ribald anecdote. "banana" has 3 syllables. this systematic rhythm (or sound pattern) is usually identified by examining the type of "foot" and the number of feet. c. 1. Trochee Anapest (Trochaic): (Anapestic): strong two syllable weak syllables e. In her room at the prow of the house Where light breaks.. as in the third foot. strong) with 3 feet in lines 1.] b. Dactyl (Dactylic): a strong syllable followed by two weak syllables. Remember that most modern poems do not have rhyme. 2.weak syllable followed by strong syllable.Meter: the systematic regularity in rhythm.. & 5 and 2 feet in lines 3 & 4. . strong syllable. and each foot has two or three syllables with a constant beat pattern . DDDA was an / archer. He drew his sword while I just stood. In poetry.). weak. DD Here's another (silly) example of dactylic rhythm. as in these lines from Coleridge.be anapestic (weak. It is usually identified with lower case letters. And realized I'd been seen. [Note that the pattern is sometimes fairly hard to maintain. meter (ie. or foot. The feet in a line are distinguished as a recurring pattern of two or three syllables("apple" has 2 syllables.Internal rhyme occurs in the middle of a line. These are sometimes collectively called sound play because they take advantage of the performative. NOTE: Rhyme (above) and rhythm (below) are two totally different concepts! RHYTHM AND METER .Thus: __ = a stressed (or strong. the most common kind of rhyme is the end rhyme. RHYME Rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds. which are called feet.g. by Richard Wilbur d. SOUND PATTERNS Three other elements of poetry are rhyme scheme. spoken nature of poetry. and / had a great / dog followed followed by a by a weak syllable. Take a look at the rhyme scheme for the following poem : I saw a fairy in the wood. regular rhythm) and word sounds (like alliteration). and the relationship in each foot between the strong and weak syllables. on mast or shroud" or "Whiles all the night through fog-smoke white" ("The Ancient Mariner"). is designated according to the number of syllables contained. He was dressed all in green.

but appears as a foot).g. 5. If it sounds silly or strange. all / covered with / lace DDDD was a / drunkard. Free verse. (However.] So.after one syllable . particularly if they’re trying to create a certain effect. especially throughout an entire poem. the basic iambic pentameter is varied with the opening trochee. Irregularities in rhythm add interest and emphasis to the lines. is blank verse. if a poet wants to write iambic poetry.DDDC was a / captain. Determining meter is usually a process of elimination. has no rules about meter or rhyme whatsoever! [In other words.g. a poet has to choose words that fit. For example. and / had a red / face. How do I know if a poem has meter? How do I determine the meter? To maintain a consistent meter. Irregularity: Many metered poems in English avoid perfectly regular rhythm because it is monotonous. a poet can use trochaic words if s/he places a one syllable word in front of them. trochaic tetrameter. and (2) each foot has two syllables with the stress on the second syllable [iambic]. but no rhyme. anapestic or dactylic rhythms. it's free verse). iambic) and the number of feet in a line (e. and so on. 2. while free verse has neither rhythm norrhyme. . s/he has to choose words that have a naturally iambic rhythm. 3. it is called an alexandrine) foot=monometer feet=dimeter feet=trimeter feet=tetrameter feet=pentameter Poems with an identifiable meter are therefore identified by the type of feet (e. However.rather than the end. Words like betray and persuade will work in an iambic poem because they are naturally iambic. Start reading everything in iambic by emphasizing every second syllable. butdoes not have rhyme. A spondee usually appears at the end of a line. you will hear meter identified as iambic pentameter. e. 4. Free Verse: Most modern poetry no longer follows strict rules of meter or rhyme. The Number of Feet: The second part of meter is the number of feet contained in a line. The following line is iambic pentameter because it (1) has five feet [pentameter]. Blank Verse: Any poetry that does have a set metrical pattern (usually iambic pentameter). Thus. Free verse can also apply to a lack of a formal verse structure. because many of the poem's words do not sound natural.) It's not surprising that most modern poetry is not metered. because their natural emphasis is on the first syllable. Spondee (Spondaic): two strong syllables (not common as lines. frankly. then try trochaic. then you probably do not have metered poetry at all (ie. pentameter). That time | of year | thou mayst | in me | behold Thus. 80 to 90% of metered poetry is iambic. candle and muscle will work best in a trochaic poem. This often leads to poetic feet ending in the middle of words . blank verse has rhythm. though you might find it in particular lines. If none of these sounds natural. you may find it difficult to find regular iambic pentameter in a modern poem. because it is very restrictive and demanding. his works are an early example of blank verse. Modern poets do like to throw in the occasional line or phrase of metered poetry. Shakespeare frequently used unrhymed iambic pentameter in his plays. They sound silly any other way. Thus: one two three four five six feet=hexameter (when hexameter is in iambic rhythm. In this line: The first foot substitutes a trochee for an iamb.

Poetry "plays" with meaning when it identifies resemblances or makes comparisons between things. 3. and symbol are aspects of this comparison. the crown or throne for a king or the bench for the judicial system). poetry deals with particular things in concrete language. For example.. Such expressions are generally called figurative or metaphorical language. If.Tilting at windmills Consonance: the repetition of consonant sounds (anywhere in the middle or end of a line or stanza) ." For more on metaphor. a poem is most often concrete and particular. DENOTATION AND CONNOTATION Word meanings are not only restricted to dictionary meanings.g. the poem has an irregular rhythm.. through persistent identification of the rose with the beloved woman. jungle violence. the "message. These are the suggestive. A symbol is like a simile or metaphor with the first term left out. red rose" is a simile. common examples of this "figurative" comparison include:  ticking of clock = mortality  hardness of steel = determination  white = peace or purity Such terms as connotation. Assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds (anywhere in the middle or end of a line or stanza) . it's implied by the images. The full meaning of a word includes both the dictionary definition and the special meanings and associations a word takes in a given phrase or expression. In other words. since our emotions most readily respond to these things. I saw. "hands" for labour). we may come to associate the rose with her and her particular virtues. 4." if there is any. the reader may then generalize. (T." These comparisons are usually between dissimilar situations or objects that have something in common."I came.Big bad Bob bouncedbravely. the generalities arise by implication from the particular. . But we have certain associations with the word: sinuous movement. and aggression. MEANING and POETRY I said earlier that poetry is not always about hidden or indirect meanings (sometimes called meaning play). if often is a major part of poetry. At this point. Metonymy is similar to synecdoche. suggest meanings beyond the mere identity of the specific object. "All flesh is grass. click here. a tiger is a carnivorous animal of the cat family. which in mentioning an important (and attached) part signifies the whole (e. so here some of the important things to remember: CONCRETENESS and PARTICULARITY In general." 2. it may involve exact words. figurative or connotative meanings. Parallel Stucture: a form of repetition where the order of verbs and nouns is repeated. metaphor. Repetition: the repetition of entire lines or phrases to emphasize key thematic ideas.If there are some lines that sound metered. "My love is like a red. Gray) Onomatopoeia: words that sound like that which they describe . in turn. This is the literal or denotative meaning. 5. simile. Simile is the rhetorical term used to designate the most elementary form of resemblances: most similes are introduced by "like" or "as. such as "My love is like a red. allegory.g. From the poem's particular situation. Images. but some WORD that don't. is general and abstract. it's a form of metaphor allowing an object closely associated (butunattached) with a object or situation to stand for the thing itself (e. I conquered".And a ll the air a solemn stillness holds. FIGURATIVE/CONNOTATIVE DEVICES 1. A metaphor leaves out "like" or "as" and implies a direct comparison between objects or situations. Nevertheless. SOUNDS Another type of sound play is the emphasis on individual sounds and words: Alliteration: the repetition of initial sounds on the same line or stanza . the rose would become a symbol. Synecdoche is a form of metaphor. red rose. but it more importantly repeats sentence structure .Boom! Crash! Pow! Quack! Moo!Caress.

7. . Allegory can be defined as a one to one correspondence between a series of abstract ideas and a series of images or pictures presented in the form of a story or a narrative. For example. Most basically. It is most valuable as a mode of perception that assists the poet to see around and behind opposed attitudes. Irony takes many forms. George Orwell's Animal Farm is an extended allegory that represents the Russian Revolution through a fable of a farm and its rebellious animals. 8. that is. and to see the often conflicting interpretations that come from our examination of life. powers.. "nature wept" or "the wind whispered many truths to me").6. irony is a figure of speech in which actual intent is expressed through words that carry the opposite meaning.g. giving them human attributes. Personification occurs when you treat abstractions or inanimate objects as human. o Paradox: usually a literal contradiction of terms or situations o Situational Irony: an unmailed letter o Dramatic Irony: audience has more information or greater perspective than the characters o Verbal Irony: saying one thing but meaning another  Overstatement (hyperbole)  Understatement (meiosis)  Sarcasm Irony may be a positive or negative force. or feelings (e.