form and sound n.
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Form and Sound. Rhyme . Two words with the same end sounds are said to rhyme. Many poetic forms call for rhymes at the ends of lines. There are two types of rhyme. Perfect rhyme (exact rhyme) – weather and tether Near rhyme (slant rhyme) – weather and forever. Rhyme .

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Two words with the same end sounds are said to rhyme. Many poetic forms call for rhymes at the ends of lines.

There are two types of rhyme.

Perfect rhyme (exact rhyme) – weather and tether

Near rhyme (slant rhyme) – weather and forever


The pattern of end rhymes within the poem is called a rhyme scheme. Certain poetic forms have very specific rhyme schemes that they must follow.

Rhymed words, by virtue of their repeated sounds and their placement at the ends of lines, can help to emphasize the central themes of a poem, or they can emphasize a contrast between two conflicting ideas.

sadie and maud p 573
“Sadie and Maud” p. 573
  • How would you describe the sound and rhythm in this poem?
  • Is there a contrast between the tone created by the rhythm and the tone created by the words?
  • Note that "fine-tooth comb" makes one slow down and say each syllable carefully. That might signal that we need to pay attention to those words. Where are some other places where the rhythm seems to break in interesting places?
  • Patterns of sound and rhyme also draw attention to contrasts – “home” and “comb” are good examples of this. (Why?)
  • Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds. (Consonants, remember, are all of the letters that are not vowels.)

A (rather silly) example:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Alliteration often draws attention to the words that contain the repeated sound.

What other examples of alliteration can you think of? Do you see any in “Blackberry Eating”? (p. 588)

blackberry eating p 588
“Blackberry Eating” p. 588
  • What are some of the interesting choices this poem makes that have to do with how the words sound? (Alliteration, rhyme, etc.)
  • What is the poet comparing ripe blackberries to? Why?
  • When we speak, we put more stress on some syllables than on others. Metered poetry seeks to create a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.
  • Meter can help to emphasize the tone of the poem and contribute to the overall effect.
  • Poets usually do not write exclusively in one meter, but vary the patterns they use occasionally to draw attention to important sections.
  • Common metrical patterns include iambs, anapests, and trochees. (see p. 575 for more patterns)
iambic meter
Iambic Meter
  • The Iamb is the most common metrical unit in poetry. It consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The iamb is so natural to English that a lot of times we speak in iambs without trying to.
  • Example: (stressed syllables are red)

For thy sweet love rememb’red such wealth brings


Because I could not stop for Death

iambic meter1
Iambic Meter

There are five iambs in this line from the sonnet we read (p. 598).

(1)For thy(2)sweet love (3)remem(4)b’red such (5)wealth brings

Therefore, we say that the poem is written in iambic pentameter (pent- means five).

A poem by Emily Dickenson poem repeats the iamb four times (p. 687).

(1)Because (2)I could (3)not stop (4)for Death

Therefore, this poem is in iambic tetrameter (tetra- means four).

sonnet form
Sonnet Form
  • Sonnets consist of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter - three quatrains (groups of four lines) and a couplet (two rhyming lines) at the end.
  • The quatrains present a problem or contradiction. Each quatrain usually expresses one idea or thought.
  • The couplet at the end resolves the problem or sums up the ideas expressed in the poem.
when in disgrace with fortune and men s eyes on p 598
"When in Disgrace With Fortune and Men’s Eyes" on p. 598
  • What is the problem presented by the first quatrain (group of four lines)?
  • What is the problem presented by the second quatrain?
  • Where does the “turn” in the poem occur? (Look for “transition words.”)
  • How does the last couplet (two rhyming lines) resolve the original problem?
and now for something completely different
And now for something completely different…

Take a look at the poem “Jabberwocky” on p. 590.

How does this poem rely on other poems/stories about quests and adventures to help the reader make sense of it?

Do you think this poem relies more on sound and rhythm to create meaning then the others we read?

What do you make of all the “nonsense” words? Do some of them “make sense” anyway? Why?