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Writing About Literature

Writing About Literature

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Writing About Literature

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  1. Writing About Literature 12. Rhythm and Rhyme

  2. Rhythm • A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound • Sources: • From the Oxford English Dictionary: “marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions” • From Latin rhythmus “movement in time” • From Greek rhythmos “measured flow or movement”

  3. Meter • A pattern of stressed* syllables alternating in regular intervals with syllables of less stress • The basic rhythmic structure of poetry • Compositions written in meter are said to be in verse

  4. Foot • Each unit of stressed and unstressed syllables is called a foot

  5. Foot Examples • Some, but not all, feet can be represented with single words:

  6. Metrical Lines • The meter for a line of poetry is determined by the type of foot and the number of feet in that line • So, a line with three iambic feet is known as iambic trimeter. A line with six dactylic feet is known as dactylic hexameter.

  7. Line Examples Iambic pentameter: / / / / / The curfew tolls the knell of parting day from Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray / / / / / That time of year thou mayst in me behold from Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare / / / / / A little learning is a dangerous thing from An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope

  8. Line Examples Determine the meter: / ˘ ˘ / ˘ ˘ Half a league, half a league, / ˘ ˘ / ˘ Half a league onward, / ˘ ˘ / ˘ ˘ All in the valley of Death / ˘ ˘ / ˘ Rode the six hundred. from The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  9. Meter and Form • Some forms of poetry are written entirely in one meter • Some forms of poetry require several different meters • And yes, some forms of poetry even mix meters in individual lines

  10. Rhyme • Rhyme: a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words • Example: To rhyme is sublime • End rhyme: Rhymes that occur at the end of the verse line • Example: And the waves oozing through the porthole made His berth a little damp, and him afraid. • Internal Rhyme: Rhymes that occur within a verse line. • Example: Sister, my sister, O fleetsweet swallow

  11. Rhyme Scheme A rhyme scheme is the pattern of end-rhymed lines in a poem: Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, a Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, b Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs a And towards our distant rest began to trudge. b Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots c But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; d Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots c Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. d from Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

  12. Line Break • A line break in poetry is the termination of the line of a poem (usually on the right), and the beginning of a new line (usually on the left). • When a line ends with a syntactical pause and punctuation that indicates a pause, it is “end-stopped” • When a line ends within a syntactical unit and has no punctuation that indicates a pause, it is “enjambed” • Enjambment literally means 'to straddle‘ (or to put one's leg across, or to step over) and is a form of line break

  13. Enjambment These lines are end-stopped, that is, the end of the line coincides with the end of a grammatical unit: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date. (Shakespeare, Sonnet 18)

  14. Enjambment These lines are enjambed, that is, the line does not end with a grammatical break. Here are a few lines from Keats' Endymion which demonstrate how enjambment works: A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and asleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.(ll .1-5) The first and last lines above are end-stopped; lines 2, 3 and 4 are enjambed

  15. Enjambment • Enjambment increases the pace of the poem whereas end-stopped lines, which are lines that break on caesuras (pauses), emphasize these silences and slow the poem down • may also be used to delay the intention of the line until the following line and thus play on the expectation of the reader and surprise them • the line cannot stand alone, cannot make sense without the following line

  16. Closed Form • Together, meter and rhyme scheme may determine a specific pattern or design of poetry • When these forms are strictly defined, they are referred to as closed forms • In English, closed forms include the: • Sonnet • Sestina • Villanelle • Blank verse • Heroic couplet • Roundel • Ballade

  17. Ottava Rima That is no country for old men. The young In one another's arms, birds in the trees - Those dying generations - at their song, The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas, Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long Whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all neglect Monuments of unageing intellect.

  18. Open Form • Does not follow a traditional rhyme scheme, stanza pattern, or meter • Does not have a recognized, traditional form • Often (if successful) informed by a more subtle organic structure • Became the dominant form of poetry in Europe and America in the 20th century

  19. War Open vs. Closed Free verse vs. Formal verse Experimental vs. Traditional Machine age vs. Agrarian age Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down. –Robert Frost I never thought poetry was supposed to be a game. –Galway Kinnell