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LIT 4930.001
Appreciating Poetry

Fall 2004
Time: Monday and Wednesday
11:00am - 12:15 pm
Room: CPR 348

Class 5

Reading Assignment:

    Sept. 8: Perrine, chs. 11-12; Oliver pp. 19-57
    Group A: Post 3
    Device paper draft due


    "1973" by Marilyn Hacker (Perrine 193)

    Class Objectives:

  • Identify and discuss different musical devices in poetry.
  • Identify and discuss rhythm and meter.


    For everyone: try to do the scansion suggested in chapter 12 of Perrine (of Herbert's "Virtue" 200-201), and be prepared to discuss your effort in class. Also, please try to scan Hacker's poem for today's class. For group A, include some sense of sound in your annotation today.


    We have many terms to learn this class:

  • alliteration (Perrine 181; Oliver 29)
  • assonance (Perrine 181; Oliver 30)
  • consonance (Perrine 181; Oliver 30 -- note differences)
  • masculine rhyme and feminine rhyme (Perrine 181; Oliver 53)
  • internal, end and approximate rhyme (Perrine 182; Oliver 53)
  • rhythm (Perrine 195; Oliver 36)
  • accented or stressed syllables (Perrine 195; Oliver 36+)
  • rhetorical stresses (Perrine 196)
  • end-stopped line, run-on or enjambed line (Perrine 196; Oliver 52-56)
  • caesura (Perrine 196; Oliver 50-51)
  • free verse (Perrine 196; Oliver treats this under forms)
  • meter (Perrine 197-99; Oliver 36-42)
  • foot (Perrine 198; Oliver 36-42)
  • stanza (Perrine 200)
  • metrical variations: substitution, extrametrical syllables, truncation (Perrine 200; Oliver 44-50)
  • scansion (Perrine 200; Oliver 36+)
  • grammatical and rhetorical pauses (Perrine 208)
  • blank verse (Perrine 209; Oliver 60).

    Although a seemingly random selection, this list is, as Oliver points out, is "rich and provocative." Let us adopt these categories of sound preliminarily, and we will try some experiments in class.

    VOWELS -- A, E I, O U, AND sometimes W AND Y



        ASPIRATES: C, F, G, H, J, S, X

        LIQUIDS: L, M, N, R

      MUTES -->B, D, K, P, Q, T, C (hard), G (hard),


    Note how Oliver illustrates the relationship between the felt quality of a sound and the connotations of the words (p. 23). Pay attention to the way that sound conveys meaning. What other examples can you think of?

    Examine Oliver's examples of alliteration and assonance. How would you explain her term "sibling sounds" (p. 32)?

    Note the role of line length as well as rhythm p. 39. How does each contribute to the meaning of a poem?

    "Rhythm underlies everything" (p. 43).

    How does the poet establish a rhythm? Why is constancy important? What is the relationship between constancy and variation?


    Note the "natural" sounds of iambs in your speech -- Also be aware of the variations.

    Note the placement of the caesura in lines of poetry. How do they move from line to line? What is the effect?

    Pay attention to the way a poet begins his or her lines. How does he or she end them? What variations can you find? Does he or she use enjambment? When? How?

    Consider Oliver's quotation: "Feminine endings tend to blur the end rhyme. So does slant rhyme. Masculine and true rhyme endings are forthright. And masculine true rhymes with words ending in mute sounds are the most emphatic rhymes of all" (53).


    Perrine offers us more technical and more carefully broken down discussion of the devices of sound in poetry. This is true particularly of his discussion of scansion in chapter 12. Take time with the exercise, and bring your questions and observations to class for discussion.

    Perrine is also quite good at describing a poetic device's purpose. The purpose of repetition, for example, is for pleasure and for creating structure in the poem by creating relationships between the repeated elements -- in this case, sound elements (181). Find examples of relationships between repeated elements of sound.

    Keep in mind the analogy between a building and the architect's blueprint for the building; this is roughly like the actual poem and the ideal metrics of the pattern (198).

    In the exercise on scansion (pp. 200-209), an important principle related to that of repetition above emerges: that is, variation in sound or patterns ALSO create meaning or structure to a poem. These variations signal change or significance in meaning as well. Look for examples like the trochee with which the fourth stanza opens (205).

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