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The Tools of Poetry 4: Rhythm & Meter

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1 The Tools of Poetry 4: Rhythm & Meter
English I Honors Mr. Popovich

2 Rhythm in Poetry Rhythm is another way poets can create sound effects.
In English-language poetry, rhythm is created by alternating stressed and unstressed syllables. But remember that it is different in other languages. Chinese uses tone or pitch of syllables to create rhythm. Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and Arabic use the length of syllables to create rhythm. Old English and German use the number of stressed syllables to create rhythm. French, Spanish, and Japanese use the total number of syllables to create rhythm.

3 Rhythm in Poetry The use of rhythm in poetry can take the form of
Either metrical verse a strict pattern of a certain number of stressed and unstressed syllables in each line of the poem metrical verse usually includes a rhyme scheme but it may not rhyme (this is called blank verse) Or free verse a loose rhythm that sounds like natural speech typically does not use a rhyme scheme But does use other sound effects

4 Meter In metrical verse, the stressed and unstressed syllables are arranged in a regular pattern. Read this excerpt. How many syllables per line? ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ The mountain mists, condensing at our voice Under the moon, had spread their snowy flakes, From the keen ice shielding our linkèd sleep. —from “Prometheus Unbound” by Percy Bysshe Shelley ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ’ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ Now mark the stressed (′) and unstressed (˘) syllables. Marking a poem in this way is called scanning it. Is this an example of rhymed verse or blank verse?

5 Feet Verse is made up of metrical units called feet. A foot consists of at least one stressed syllable and one or more unstressed syllables. FOOT TYPE SCANSION EXAMPLE Iamb Unstressed-Stressed insist Trochee Stressed-Unstressed perfect Anapest Unstressed-Unstressed-Stressed understand Dactyl Stressed-Unstressed-Unstressed excellent Spondee Stressed-Stressed football ˘ ’ ’ ˘ ˘ ˘ ’ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ’

6 Lines Lines of verse are categorized according to:
What kind of foot it contains, see previous chart convert to an adjective How many feet it contains, tetra = four penta = five hexa = six And ends in the suffix –meter which means “measure”

7 ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘
Verse Using scansion symbols, write out: What does Trochaic Tetrameter look like? What does Dactylic Hexameter look like? What does Iambic Pentameter look like? Quick Check Trochaic Tetrameter By the shores of Gitchee Gumee —from “Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ Dactylic Hexameter This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks of —from “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ ’ ˘ ˘ Iambic Pentameter ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ ˘ ’ When wasteful war shall statues overturn, —from “Sonnet 55” by William Shakespeare

8 But what other sound effects does she use?
Free Verse Free verse is a kind of poetry that does not have a regular meter or a fixed rhyme scheme. Never, in all your career of worrying, did you imagine what worries could occur concerning the flying cat. You are traveling to a distant city. The cat must travel in a small box with holes. —from “The Flying Cat” by Naomi Shihab Nye Because it is “free” of metrical rules, free verse sounds more like everyday speech than verse. But what other sound effects does she use?

9 The End

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