Introduction to Meter and Rhyme
We’ll start by reviewing the concept of the poetic foot and learn to identify the most common meters in English. Once we’re sure that we have a common vocabulary to use, we’ll read poems written in those meters by poets like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Frost, Ruth Pitter, W. H. Auden, and Daryl Hine, stopping to take apart particular lines and look at how the poet is using meter to achieve his or her effects. We’ll go on to look at the types of rhyme--full, slant, and assonantal--and at the rhyme schemes that help define various inherited poetic forms like ballads, villanelles, sonnets, and terza-rima. Using poems by such figures as John Keats, Albert Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, and Melissa Green, we’ll examine the ways in which rhyme can fuel the creativity and invention of the poet, and move the reader.
The class will be a combination of instruction, discussion, some in-class exercises, and a small assignment for the Saturday afternoon free writing time.