Poetry Analysis
Sound Devices
Figurative Language
Rhythm and Meter
Sound Devices
Sound Devices are a method of adding music and mood to writing. They are very
common in poetry but can be found in prose writing also. The sounds are meant
to sound pleasant or unpleasant to the ear, depending on the mood the writer
wants to create.
• Alliteration: Repetition of beginning consonants sounds
ten tiny tin men tumbled from the shelf
a mighty man managed to mend the sail
• Consonance: Repetition of consonant sounds anywhere within the words.
– the silky sounds of silence
*(“ce” makes the “s” sound, too)
– the bomb blasted and bombarded the buildings
• Assonance: Repetition of vowel sounds within words
– jingle bells tinkle and clink as we sing (short I vowel)
– Ease into sleep and enjoy the sweet peace (long e vowel)
• Onomatopoeia:
Words that are spelled so as to imitate noises and sounds we hear.
– The old rusty truck clanked and chugged down the road.
– The lonely owl hooted from his perch in the tree.
– All the dishes fell to the floor with a loud clatter.
Figurative Language
Figurative language achieves a level of creativity
not possible with literal language. Students must
go beyond recognizing that the figurative
language is there to what the figurative language
achieves in the written work.
• Simile: a comparison between two seemingly unlike things using Like or As.
• Metaphor: a comparison of two unlike things without the use of Like or As. The
statement will say something IS the other thing rather than saying it is LIKE it.
• Personification: giving human qualities
or abilities to nonhuman things.
• Hyperbole: exaggeration for the purpose of impact or emphasis
• Oxymoron: word pair or combination that expresses a contradiction
• Paradox: a statement that expresses a contradiction
What is this an example of?
Don’t go near water until you’ve learned to swim.
Imagery or Sensory Languages
Visual Imagery
Example: The horizon glowed a deep red orange.
Auditory Imagery
Example: A cat screeched and wailed in the alley.
Tactile Imagery
Grandpa’s beard was scratchy on my cheek.
Olfactory imagery
Example: I smell fresh baked buttery bread!
Gustatory imagery
Example: The creamy vanilla ice cream melted
Imagery or Sensory Language
• There are two more types of imagery that deals with
movement that we can perceive. Here are their types
and examples
• Kinetic Imagery:
This is movement of objects through
another force like gravity, being thrown,
pushed, moved by electrical or
engine power etc…
• Example: The loosened boulder
down the hillside.
Kinesthetic imagery: This is movement
of living thing. They choose when and how to
move, and under their own power.
The gymnast ran down the mat, flipping and
twirling as she went.
A panther leaped from the cavern edge and
pounced on the deer.
The Structure of Poetry
• Lines of poetry can be any length… one word
or all the way across the page.
• Line breaks occur wen a line of poetry does
not extend into remaining space on the page
but instead begins again on the line beneath.
• Enjambment occurs when one line and its
meaning flow into another with no stopping
• A Stanza is a group of poetic lines much like a
paragraph is a group of prose sentences.
The Structure of Poetry
The use of the above devices, their
placement, their number, etc., I entirely
decided by the author or it can be
dictated by the form of the poetry. Next
are some common poetry types.
• Haiku: a three line poem with a 5,7,5 syllable
pattern usually written on a subject from
• Cinquain: a five line poem where
– Line 1 is one word (the title),
– Line 2 is two words that describe the title,
– Line 3 is three words that tell the action,
– Line 4 is four words that express the feeling,
– Line 5 is one word that recalls the title.
• Limerick is a kind of humorous, or nonsense
poem especially one in five-line structure,
including a specific rhythm and a strict rhyme
scheme (aabba)
• Narrative poetry: A narrative poem tells a story
and may be long or brief. They usually have a
tight structure of stanzas and a rhyme pattern
that is determined by the author. Two
common types are epics and ballads.
Types of Poems
Ballads are narrative poems that are
usually not very long They have a
strict rhyme scheme and often have a
refrain or repeated line that may occur
at the end of the beginning of each
stanza. Ballads originated as songs
with the lines of the poem put to
Types of Poems
Epic poems are long, formal narrative poems
that can be the length of a short novel they are
usually written about the deeds of a hero. The
rhyme and meter differs depending on the
author This form of poetry dates back to the
origins of poetry when the form was only spoken
and passed down form generation to generation
by retelling and memorization. Two very famous
epic poems are The Iliad and The Odyssey by
the Greek poet Homer.
Types of Poems
Lyrics poem are poems that express personal
emotions on a subject. They are structured with
meter and rhyme, but no set type is required,
nor is there any specific length. It is determined
by the author. This form of poem is quite open in
the sense that it is suited to any emotional or
reflective topic
Types of Poems
• Sonnets are lyric poems exactly 14 lines long with a
strict rhyme scheme and rhythm patter. Sonnet
means little song, and they were often written to
express love or admiration for another.
• Free Verse This is a modern form of poetry where
anything goes. There is no pattern in rhyme, rhythm,
or line length. There is the use of poetic elements
and poetic lines of varying lengths, but there is no
pattern, allowing for an open expression.
Rhythm and Meter in Poetry
Poetic lines have a rhythm made up of accented
and unaccented syllables in words. When
combined in a line they make a pattern with the
voice. Many nursery rhymes are noted for the
rhythm created in the lines. Different patterns
(feet) have names and the number of groupings
of patterns (called meter) have names as well.
Below is a chart showing the pattern of the
rhythm and what we call that foot.
Rhythm and Meter in Poetry
Iamb /Iambic/Unstressed + Stressed
I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea.
And, oh, but it was laden
With pretty things for thee
Trochee/Trochaic/Stressed + Unstressed
Twinkle Twinkle
Little Star
How I wonder what you are?
Anapest/Anapestic/Unstressed + Unstressed + Stressed
Ride a fine horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse. Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.
Dactyl/Dactylic/Stressed + Unstressed + Unstressed
Hickory, dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down!
Hickory, dickory, dock
Rhythm and Meter in Poetry
• Two Less common feet….
• Spondee/Spondaic/Stressed + Stressed
• Pyrrhic/Pyrrhic/Unstressed + Unstressed
• Depending how many groupings of accented;
unaccented syllables of a certain foot tat you have in
a line, this will determine the meter.
Below is a listing of names of the different meter lengths.
Many of the prefixes help indicate the number of feet in
the line.
Monometer = one foot • Hexameter = six feet
Dimeter = two feet
• Heptameter = seven feet
Trimeter = three feet
• Octameter = eight feet
Tetramete = four feet
Pentameter = five feet
Help for Scanning Poetic Lines
• Say the line as naturally as you can and listen
for the emphasized syllables.
• Mark the accented syllables first. (/)
• Read the line again and see if your emphasis I
really happening as you marked it. Adjust if
• Then mark the unstressed syllables with a
scoop mark.
Help for Scanning Poetic Lines
• If the poem has a regular and very
“hearable” rhythm, this will work.
But what if it doesn’t, and you
can’t hear it?
• Here are Mrs. Moore’s CHEAT TIPS
for Scanning Poetry!
Help for Scanning Poetic Lines
• Mark the natural rhythm of any multi-syllable
words with accented and unaccented marks.
(Just like when you marked accents in our own
• Following, mark any single syllable words with an
accent by prioritizing in the following order.
• Nouns
• Verbs
• Adjectives
• Adverbs
Help for Scanning Poetic Lines
• This system makes sense because the
CONTENT of the line will be found in its nouns
and verbs, and then in lesser priority, the
adjectives and adverbs that describe them.
• The next step is to mark the less important
words with an unaccented mark. These include
the articles, conjunctions and prepositions.
Help for Scanning Poetic Lines
• After marking the line, try to read it with the accents
where you have marked them. If he line does not
sound awkward or unnatural, then you probably
have it marked correctly. Another hint will be if you
can easily see one of the patterns and groupings of
• If you cannot see a regular pattern, you till may be
correct, but you have an irregular line where the
writer had to break his/her pattern.
Help for Scanning Poetic Lines
• Remember, read naturally! Don’t try to FORCE the
pattern you have marked by altering how you
pronounce the words.
• Also, depending on which words come before or
after a single syllable word, this can cause it to be
accented in one line and unaccented in another
line. You take them as they are within the line
• Finally, with scansion of poetry, the more you
do it, the better you get!
Practice makes perfect!!
Examples of Rhythm and Meter
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
(U / U / U / U / U /)
• Iambic (type of foot)
• Pentameter (number of feet in the line)
• Iambic Pentameter
• Trochaic Tetrameter
• Twink-le twink-le
lit-tle star
/ u /)*
An accent, *, alone will count as one more single foot.
Dactylic Tetrameter
“Take her up ten-der-y, Dar-ling my love.”
U U / U U / U U /)
• Anapestic Trimeter
• So I walk by the edge of a lake.
(U U /
U U /
U U /)
Rhyme occurs when the ends of lines
have the same sound in the ending
vowels or in the ending vowel/
consonant combination usually found
at the end of poetic lines where a
rhyme pattern occurs. Below re some
types of rhyme that are used in poetry.
• End Rhyme: rhyming words found at the ends of
poetic lines
“You used to think monsters hid under your bed.
Now we think so too, but it smells like they’re dead.”
Alternating Rhyme: rhyming words that occur every
other line, like they are taking turns
(a,b, a,b, c,d c,d etc… )
“All I have I give to you
You mean the world to me
And everything I say or do
I do so willingly”
• Internal Rhyme: This occurs when words
within a line of poetry rhyme.
• I stepped in blue goo
• and it made me so sick,
• What else could I do
• But turn a men green
Near Rhyme: This occurs when
there is a pair of words that nearly, or
almost rhyme. The author cannot
always find a perfect rhyme to
grammatically fit into the grammar
and meaning of the line, so sometimes
they have to work with something
close instead.
• We said, “We can’t, we can’t!”
So he turned and away he went!
• My eyes, my ears, they cannot tell,
The sights and sounds beyond the wall.
• In order to analyze a pattern of rhyme, one
needs a way to mark the pattern. By assigning
letters of the alphabet to each pair of
rhyming and any that rhyme with them
following, one can see the pattern of the
• Each unique sound gets its own letter.
• Some poems follow a very specific,
predetermined rhyme scheme, like sonnets.
• Other rhyme schemes are created by the
authors when they create the poem with their
own pattern of rhyme.
• Poems like free verse, do not have a pattern of
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