Sound Devices in Poetry

What you need to know…

One of the major aspects of poetry is it’s focus on sounds, including individual sounds and the rhythm created by them.

Here are the key sound devices:

Alliteration: Repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. Example: Peter and Andrew patted the pony at Ascot

Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their meanings. Example: boom, buzz, crackle, gurgle, hiss, pop, sizzle, snap, swoosh, whir, zip

Rhyme: Words that have different beginning sounds but whose endings sound alike. Example: time, slime, mime

Assonance: Repeated vowel sounds in words placed near each other, usually on the same or adjacent lines. Example: He’s a bruisin’ loser

Rhythm: The pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in words.

Example: i THOUGHT i SAW a PUSsyCAT.

Meter: Meter is the organization of voice patterns (rhythm), in terms of both the arrangement of stresses and their frequency of repetition per line of verse.

What you need to do…

Identify at least two examples of each of these sound devices:

  • Rhyme
  • Assonance
  • Alliteration
  • Onomatopoeia (there might be one or even no examples of this one)

in the following lyrics to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” song. You can listen to the song here if it helps

LOSE YOURSELF (CLEAN) SONGTEXT (Lyrics)

Look
if you had one shot
or one opportunity
to seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it
or just let it slip? Yo…His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s chokin’ how, everybody’s jokin’ now
The clocks runs out, time’s up, over. Blow!
Snap back to reality, oh, there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked, he’s so mad
But he won’t give it up that easy, no, he won’t have it
He knows his whole back’s to these ropes, it don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke, he’s so stagnant, he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again, yo, this whole rhapsodyHe better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment

You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

The soul’s escaping through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking, make me king
As we move toward a new world order
A normal life is boring, but superstardom’s
Close to postmortem, it only grows harder
Only grows hotter, he blows us all over
These hoes is all on him, coast to coast shows
He’s known as the globetrotter, lonely roads, god only
Knows he’s grown farther from home he’s no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose, ‘cuz here goes the cold water
These hoes don’t want him no mo’, he’s cold product

They moved on to the next schmoe, who flows he nose
Dove and sold nada, so the soap opera
Is told and unfolds, I suppose it’s old partner
But the beat goes on, da da dum da dum da da

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow

This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

No more games, I’m a change what you call rage
Tear this motherfuckin’ roof off like 2 dogs caged
I was playin’ in the beginnin’, the mood all changed
I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhymin’ and stepped right in the next cypher
Best believe somebody’s payin’ the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the
Fact that I can’t get by with my nine to
Five and I can’t provide the right type of
Life for my family ‘cuz, man, these goddamn
Food stamps don’t buy diapers and there’s no movie
There’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard and it’s getting even harder
Tryin’ to feed and water my seed, plus teeter-totter
Caught up between bein’ a father and a prima donna
Baby mama drama screamin’ on and too much for me to wanna
Stay in one spot, another day of monotony

Has gotten me to the point I’m like a snail I’ve got
To formulate a plot or end up in jail or shot
Success is my only motherfuckin’ option, failure’s not
Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go

I cannot grow old in Salem’s Lot
So here I go, it’s my shot, feet fail me not
This may be the only opportunity that I got

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better
You can do anything you set your mind to, man

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One thought on “Sound Devices in Poetry

  1. Pingback: Analysing Sound Devices – Mr Dixon's English Resources

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