Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Poetry is Put Together

For your oral presentation, you must point out three ways your chosen poem is constructed. Be sure to read the section on the "Poet's Means" in our literature book. That said, here are some cliff notes on things you can point out in your poem.


Perfect Rhyme is what everyone is most familiar with - most of the word sound the same: moon and June, sigh and cry

Eye Rhyme is when two worlds look like they should rhyme - but don't, like "tough" and "though." The lack of rhyme gets the reader's attention and makes him or her play closer attention to the rhythm/meaning.

Slant Rhyme is when only part of the words sound similar. Like in the Stevie Smith poem "Not Waving, but Drowning. The -ing sound is repeated throughout.

Masculine Rhyme is when words rhyme on the strong syllable of the world, like "stay" and "away" These rhyme on the strongest produced sound in the word.

Feminine Rhyme is, of course, the opposite. The words rhyme on the weaker sound, like "thunder" and "wonder."

Sound Repetitions:

Alliteration - This is when consonant sound are repeated in various words. Initial alliteration means all the consonant sounds are the first letter of the words, like in a tongue twister - Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers. The "P" sound is repeated.

Assonance - This means vowel sounds are repeated, like the "o" sound in "The Fog".

Figurative Language

Metaphors - a direct comparison. "My love is a red red rose..."

Similes - a comparison using "like" or "as." "Her voice was like fine wine..."

Personification - Giving human qualities to things that are not human. "The moon stared down at the earth..."

Apostrophe - Talking to inanimate things as if they were human, as Alice Walker talks to Poetry in her poem.

Onomatopoeia - When words mimic sounds: woof, splat, bang, pow - think comic book language

All poems are either closed form or open form. If it's a closed form, it follows a set of rules (even if loosely). So a sonnet is 14 lines with a certain rhyming order and the poet follows this format in some way.

Open form doesn't follow any standard formats or rules.

Sensory images are also used in writing poems. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell may be represented in your poem.

It's okay to point out the lack of some traits - your poem will either rhyme, or not. It will be open form or closed form.

Email if you have any questions.