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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Writing good poetry analysis

What you need to know…

It’s important when you write about poetry analysis that you are expressing your ideas clearly.

When explaining figurative language, sound devices or the use of any poetic technique, it is important that in your writing you are making the connection clear between the language/technique used and the reason why it has been used (the effect of the language).

You also need to make sure that you are incorporating (including) quotes properly in your sentences.

What you need to do…

Read the following five examples of explanations of figurative language use in some of the poems we have been studying.

Working with a partner, rank them in order from the most clearly written explanations to the least. Make sure you can justify (i.e. explain) your reasons.

#A. “Stop all the clocks.” Auden uses this line to show that the persona wants the clocks to stop. The persona’s lover has just died and so they want everyone to know and to be sad as well. This is an example of hyperbole because it’s a big exaggeration and it’s impossible to stop all the clocks from working. This helps to show how sad he is. 

#B. The persona wants to “pour away and sweep up the wood/because nothing now can ever come to any good.” This is an example of a metaphor because you can’t actually sweet up the wood and you can’t pour away the ocean. These things are impossible to do, which is why this is a metaphor. 

#C. “I want them to water ski across the surface of the poem”. The persona who is probably a teacher wants his students to water ski across the poem. This metaphor helps us to understand that the teacher wants the students to get the main idea of the poem and to have fun with it. 

#D. The persona wants the students to “press an ear against (the poem’s) hive”. A hive is filled with bees that make an interesting sound and so perhaps the persona wants the students to listen carefully to the sounds of the poem, just like listening to the sounds of the bees in a hive. 

#E. When Angelous says that the bird’s “wings are clipped / and its feet are tied” she is referring to the way that African Americans have a lot of obstacles that stop them from being successful and happy in life. A bird with clipped wings and tied feet can’t fly, just like African Americans in poor schools and who are treated badly can’t be successful in life.

Using Poetry Quotes: IQC

What you need to know…

When writing your analysis of a particular poem it is important that you can use examples from the poem to support and demonstrate what you are saying.

IQC stands for:

Introduce –> Quote –> Comment.

  • Introduce: give the quote some background (context)
  • Quote: include the quote (using correct punctuation!)
  • Comment: on what the evidence demonstrates

It is important that you first introduce the quote, then you include the quote and finally you comment.

  1. Step One: Select your quote carefully
  2. Step Two: Introduce your quote (I)
  3. Step Three: Incorporate your quote in a sentence correctly (Q)
  4. Step Four: Make a comment on your evidence (C)

Poor Example:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud.” In this line the persona is describing himself as a cloud because there was only one cloud in the sky and it creates an image of him being alone and surrounded by emptiness. 

Good Example:

“The persona describes himself as “…wandering lonely as a cloud…” (1) when there is only one in the sky to create an image of him being alone and surrounded by emptiness. 

You can see many examples in this example poetry commentary.


Remember that a quote should:

  • Be grammatically correct
  • Never begin or end a paragraph
  • Be part of a sentence

How to include a quote in the sentence…

The punctuation and structure will vary depending on how long your quoted lines of poetry are.

 

Three lines or less: 

  • Use quotation marks around the quote.
  • Include the line number/s at the end in brackets (2)
  • Use a / mark to mark where one line ends a new line begins

Four lines or more: 

  • Use a colon at the end of the introductory sentence (:)
  • Indent the lines
  • Add your analysis after the quote
    • See an example here

What do the three dots … mean? This is called an ellipsis and it means that you have left out words from before or after the quote has begun.


 

What you need to do…

Explaining Figurative Language:

Choose one example of figurative language from “Introduction to Poetry” and explain its relationship with meaning. Refer to the post on how to what good poetry analysis looks like if you need help.

You must be using property citation (i.e. IQC) techniques in your writing.

 

Fast Finisher:

You have now successfully explained at least one relationship between figurative language and meaning in “Introduction to Poetry”. You are now to do the same but with at least one sound device. Remember sound devices refer to any poetic technique that involves sound (e.g. rhyme, rhyme scheme, rhythm, meter, assonance, alliteration, sibilance, onomatopoeia). 

What does good analysis look like?

Poetry analysis is about understanding the relationships that exist between the language used, the contextual background and the intended meaning.

It’s not about seeing how many metaphors you can find! It’s about understanding how and why poet’s use poetic language to express themselves. It’s also about understanding how our interpretation of poetry can be influenced by our knowledge of relevant contextual details.

poetry-analysis_548_58296fda4622e2ca446b65b636dbd77caad8fc82

Funeral Blues

What you need to know…

There are many ways we can analyse a poem but we’ll start by just asking three simple questions:

  1. What is the poem about?

  2. What is the central idea, meaning or message are the lyrics trying to convey?

  3. How does the poet’s/lyricist’s use of language help to convey the idea/meaning/message?

This infographic might help you…

how-to-analyze-_10247413_1644da24196b7e3f973413d0aa86f76d25520578
How to analyze a poem…Try to ask and answer these questions as you study Funeral Blues.

 

Your task:

Read the poem “Funeral Blues” by W.H Auden and begin answering the three questions stated above. You can (and should) write notes on the copy of the poem and in your own notes.

Please show me when you’ve answered question #1 and #2. 

Confused? Stuck? Need help?

If you need some help with these questions take a look at just one example from one of my favourite poems Daffodils by William Wordsworth.

  1. This poem is about a time when the persona² was walking through the countryside and they were cheered up by seeing a bunch of daffodils. The memory has stayed with him for a long time. It describes the beautiful images of the daffodils he saw while he was walking.
  2. One central idea in this poem might be that even though nature isn’t “alive” in the human sense, it can still keep us company. Or that beautiful memories are important because they can cheer us up when we are feeling down.
  3. One way the poet shows us this idea is in the rhythm of the poem. It’s written in a constant rhythm with many rhymes which gives the poem a pleasant and flowing rhythm. This helps keep the tone of the poem positive. Also, he uses personification frequently when describing the daffodils, almost as if they are people (“a crow” “a host” “dancing”). This helps to show how nature kept him company.

 

² Persona is the term we use when writing about poetry to describe the first person in the poem. We can’t assume that when the poem says “I wandered lonely…” that the “I” is the poet. This would be like assuming in a novel whenever there is a first-person narrator it’s the writer speaking.

Grade 9 English: Sharing Poems

Thursday, August 25th Period 5

Task #1

Take turns explaining to the other people in your group about your poem. Try to explain what your poems about and why you chose it. Please ask questions of each other’s poems/lyrics, too. The more you can talk about each poem/lyric the easier Task #2 will be.

You should make sure you’re finished by 1:45pm.

Task #2:

You are to write as much as you can about your poem. This is for me to get an idea of your writing skills as well as your ability to analyse poetry. Please write on loose leaf paper.

If you’re not sure what to write about, the following prompts might help…

    • Why did you choose this poem/lyrics?
    • What is the poem/lyrics about?
    • Are there any interesting uses of language (e.g. rhythm, rhyme, simile, figurative language, repetition) etc?
      • Can you comment on why the writer has used this language?

Once you’ve finished please submit your work to Mr. Dixon. It should take you at least 30 minutes to complete this task.

Your homework tonight is to read how do I analyse a poem? 

 

Bieber vs The Beatles

Grade 9 English

What you need to know…

We’ve been discussing already about why all songs and poems seem to be about falling in and/or out of love, death, dying, life, remorse, feeling lonely, etc.

People express themselves through verse in a number of reasons. One is because these feelings have a big emotional effect on people and maybe they can’t talk about their feelings so they write about them. People might also like to read how other’s write about these feelings because they feel the same but can’t put it into words as good as a poet can.

We study poetry because we want to understand how poetic language can be used to express deep meaning and to communicate powerful ideas to readers.

Your Task…

In order to get you thinking critically about poetry analysis in today’s lesson we’re going to compare two sets of lyrics:

Baby“, by Justin Bieber

and “Yesterday” by Paul McCartney and John Lesson (The Beatles songwriters).

Both of these songs are what’s described in the pop music world as “mega-hits”. But do they have any poetic merit when we remove the music and focus just on the words?

Here’s the question you need to write an answer to and show Mr Dixon when you’re finished:

Which of these lyrics (“Baby” or “Yesterday”) would be better to analyse and study? Explain your answer using examples from the text/s.

To help you answer this question I strongly recommend first reading “Why we study poetry”.

 

Bieber’s Baby is the most disliked video on youtube!

The Beatles’ “Yesterday” has been sung by more recording artists than any other song in history.

Lyrics taken from azlyrics.com

THE BEATLES LYRICS
“Yesterday”

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

JUSTIN BIEBER LYRICS
“Baby” (feat. Ludacris)
You know you love me, I know you care
Just shout whenever, and I’ll be there
You are my love, you are my heart
And we would never ever ever be apart

Are we an item? Girl, quit playing
We’re just friends, what are you saying?
Say there’s another and look right in my eyes
My first love broke my heart for the first time
And I was like…

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like baby, baby, baby nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you’d always be mine (mine)

Oh, for you I would have done whatever
And I just can’t believe we ain’t together
And I wanna play it cool, but I’m losin’ you
I’ll buy you anything, I’ll buy you any ring
And I’m in pieces, baby fix me
And just shake me ’til you wake me from this bad dream
I’m going down, down, down, down
And I just can’t believe my first love won’t be around

Repeat Chorus

[Ludacris:]
Luda! When I was 13, I had my first love,
There was nobody that compared to my baby
And nobody came between us or could ever come above
She had me going crazy, oh, I was star-struck,
She woke me up daily, don’t need no Starbucks.
She made my heart pound, it skipped a beat when I see her in the street and
At school on the playground but I really wanna see her on the weekend.
She knows she got me dazing cause she was so amazing
And now my heart is breaking but I just keep on saying…

Repeat Chorus

I’m gone (Yeah Yeah Yeah, Yeah Yeah Yeah)
Now I’m all gone (Yeah Yeah Yeah, Yeah Yeah Yeah)
Now I’m all gone (Yeah Yeah Yeah, Yeah Yeah Yeah)
Now I’m all gone (gone, gone, gone…)
I’m gone

Grade 9 English Poetry Lesson #1

What’s the difference between these two lines?

And it’s not one of these:

  • The amount of letters
  • The specific words used (some are different)
  • The way it looks on the page

 

What else is different?

Quote #1:

I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils;

 

Quote #2:

I was wandering, feeling as lonely as a cloud that floats high over the hills, when all at once I saw thousands of daffodils.

 

Discuss in your groups. Feel free to read the lines out loud and to brainstorm multiple possible solutions. Let me know when you think you have an answer.