Example: The Anapest
It starts when a rhythm drips onto your skin. -/--/--/--/
A drizzle or downpour that seeps its way in. -/--/--/--/
Oh, DUM da da, DUM da da! Drenched in the beat, -/--/--/--/
you splash in the rhythm from forehead to feet. -/--/--/--/
A POEM GROWS INSIDE YOU
Written by Katey Howes
Illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee
In my previous post I wrote about the dactyl meter. In this post I will show the opposite of dactyl, the anapest meter. Could you say that this is really a footless dactyl with an added soft beat at the beginning? Yes. I saw it as anapest with a soft beat missing from the beginning. What is important is that the hard beats remain the same.
In poetry, an anapest is a metrical foot with two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable.
The word “anapest” comes from the Latin anapaestus, which is derived from the Greek anápaistos, or “struck back”—a reference to how the anapest is a reversed dactyl.
Anapestic meter has a rolling feel to it, like the sound of horses trotting. Because it sounds song-like, anapest is popular in rhymes for children.
Did you notice how these two opening stanzas introduce a lighthearted romping tone?
Did your tongue feel like it is waltzing across the page?
This rhythm and rhyme combo makes for some catchy lines that stick in your mind long after you've finished reading the poem.
I highly recommend it!
Example: The Dactyl
Ape picks an apple for Aardvark below. /--/--/--/
Bat put a bandage on Brown Bear’s big toe. /--/--/--/
Cow covers Cat with a coat cause he’s cold. /--/--/--/
Donkey gives Dog her dolly to hold. /--/-/--/
K IS FOR KINDNESS
By Rina Horiuchi
Art by Risa Horiuchi
With this picture book I could have used alliteration as an example. Or an acrostic poem as an example. Instead I decided to focus on the dactyl. Just because it is unusual to find in poetry. Here is what the use of the dactyl is about.
Dactyl is a metrical foot containing three syllables in which the first one is accented, followed by second and third unaccented syllables.
Could you have scanned this as anapest that is headless? Yes. Could you have scanned this as dactyl that is footless? Yes. That is because Dactyl is opposite to anapestic meter.
Dactyl meter gives the lines a romping movement.
The dactyl’s basic nature is that poets can use it to place the emphasis exactly where they want it to go. Thereby emphasizing something important.
Did you notice how the child will be able to identify the alphabet in each sentence and how it is pronounced?
Did you notice how fun this was to read?
In a garden on a hill /-/-/-/
sparrows chirp and crickets trill. /-/-/-/
In the earth a single seed /-/-/-/
sits beside a millipede. /-/-/-/
Worms and termites dig and toil /-/-/-/
moving through the garden soil. /-/-/-/
Then at last a tiny shoot /-/-/-/
ever slowly forms a root. /-/-/-/
First a seedling then a sprout /-/-/-/
pushing bursting up and out. /-/-/-/
In a garden day by day /-/-/-/
newborn flowers find their way. /-/-/-/
IN A GARDEN
By Tim McCanna
Art by Aimee’ Sicuro
Repetition is a literary device that involves intentionally using a word or phrase for effect, two or more times in a speech or written work. You will have to read the entire book to see how effectively the author used this technique.
In this poem the image is created.
First, we are introduced to a garden on a hill.
From there we see a garden begin to emerge.
Through repetition a mood is communicated.
Repetition helps poets communicate specific tones.
Feelings and experiences are emphasized.
Expectations are created.
We look at all the things from different angles.
I have found this book to be one of the most beautifully written I’ve read, intoxicating even.
Example: Metrical Variation
Shhh. . .
Tiptoe by. Don’t make a peep. /-/-/-/
It’s daytime, so the skunk’s asleep. -/-/-/-/
If he’s disturbed, he might just spray. -/-/-/-/
Let him snooze. . . now sneak away. /-/-/-/
You inched ahead and took a peek. -/-/-/-/
But if he sprays you. . .you will reek. -/-/-/-/
For weeks, you’ll stink from head to toe. -/-/-/-/
If you’re smart, you’ll turn and go. /-/-/-/
IF YOU WAKE A SKUNK
Written by Carol Doeringer
Illustrated by Florence Weiser
Metrical variation is a technique poets use to -
To spice up their poem.
To avoid a tedious sing-songy meter.
To emphasize mood.
How does one go about using metrical variation?
Hypercatalectic: Where one or more unstressed syllables have been added.
Catalectic: Where one or two unstressed syllables have been subtracted.
Important to note! We are referring to UNSTRESSED syllables.
How has this author accomplished this?
Did you notice that there has been added a soft beat at the beginning lines 2, 3, 5 and 6.
Did you notice the ellipses in two of the stanzas? Did this cause you to change your tone? Did you say, run, run, run!
Oh but they did not! Find out what happens next!
I had a poem in my pocket, -/-/-/-/-
but my pocket got a rip. /-/-/-/
Rhymes tumbled down my leg, -/-/-/
and trickled from my hip. -/-/-/
Slipping, sliding, dipping, diving, /-/-/-/-
rhythms hit the ground. Then... /-/-/ /
A whirling, twirling, swirling wind -/-/-/-/
Blew all my rhymes around. -/-/-/
A POEM IN MY POCKET
By Chris Tougas
Art by Jose’e Bisaillon
Everyone speaks, and everyone breathes while speaking. Poetry also uses pauses in its lines.
One such pause is known as “caesura,” which is a rhythmical pause in a poetic line. Though it can occur in the middle of a line, or sometimes at the beginning and the end. At times, it occurs with punctuation; at other times it does not.
Did you notice the caesura in the second line of the second stanza?
Did you notice how this caused you to pause?
Did you notice the expectation this created?
Caesura is a poetic technique to create drama, enhance momentum and complexity.
Example: The Anadiplosis
Do your ears hang low? /-/-/
Do they wobble to and fro? /-/-/-/
Can you tie them in a knot? /-/-/-/
Can you tie them in a bow? /-/-/-/
Can you throw them o’er your shoulder /-/-/-/-
Like a continental soldier? /-/-/-/-
Do your ears hang low? /-/-/
DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW
written by Jenny Cooper
Illustrated by Jenny Cooper
Anadiplosis occurs when a word or group of words located at the end of one clause or sentence is repeated at or near the beginning of the following clause or sentence.
This piques the interest of the reader immediately with the story. In the case of this poem, we see that we are about to embark on a comical journey.
Overall, as a literary device, anadiplosis functions as a means of emphasizing words and ideas. Readers often remember passages that feature this type of repetition. This not only enhances a reader’s experience and enjoyment of language because it resembles music.
The anadiplosis is not limited to poetry but works well with prose and in speeches. In speeches it is done as a call to action and creates a powerful urgency in making a choice.
Can you pick out the anadi[losis repetition the stanzas?
Example: The Apostrophe Voice
OH Bad Morning,
Eyes are crusty, bones are rusty. /-/-/-/-
Why do all my teeth feel dusty? /-/-/-/-
All I see is gray ahead. /-/-/-/
Can’t I stay inside my bed? /-/-/-/
Oh you Bad Morning.
Oh Too Much Milk in My Cereal,
Soggy, squishy? Boggy, mush! /-/-/-/
You turned my crispy into gushy! -/-/-/-/-
My flakes are drenched. My fists are clenched. -/-/-/-/
Oh you Too Much MilK!
ODE TO A BAD DAY
Written by Chelsea Lin Wallace
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Words have the power to transport us to different worlds, evoke our deepest emotions, and connect us to each other. Poetry is a language that is designed to move us.
In the apostrophe voice, the writer speaks to a person, animal, or something abstract.
Did you notice how the main character was addressing the BAD Day?
Did you notice how the author allowed the character to in effect offer a soliloquy?
Did you notice how this poem allowed the main character to illuminate an emotional state.
Did you notice how this poem allowed the main character to express a thought process?
Did you notice the child-like authentic voice?
This poem is a masterpiece in celebrating the frustration, the boredom and the upsets of a bad day.
MAYBE YOU MIGHT
By Imogene Foxell
Art by Anna Cunha
They said I could’nt change the world -/-/-/-/
It wasn’t worth the fight. -/-/-/
But in my head, a small voice said. . . -/-/-/-/
Maybe you might. /-/ /
There was nothing green or growing /-/-/-/-
In the country of my birth: /-/-/-/
The very hottest, driest place -/-/-/-/
On all this, hot dry earth. -/-/-/
Repetition reuses words, phrases, images, or thoughts multiple times.
This could be a theme, a character’s characteristics, or the terrible, or wonderful, state of the world. In this way meaning accrues through repetition. In this story poem the thought is repeated in different ways.
It can be used in any part of the poem. It does not have to be limited to the ending or beginning.
Repetition is a way to produce deeper levels of emphasis, clarity, and amplification.
This approach can also be employed to persuade. One famous example is the I HAVE A DREAM speech by Martin Luther King Jr.
If you want to write a poem with repetition, first think about the point you want to get across. Then experiment on how you can incorporate a repeated word, phrase, line, or stanza into your poem.
Example: The Enjambment
Imagine moms beneath the waves -/-/-/-/
with lots of love to share. -/-/-/
Whatever might they say or do -/-/-/-/
to show how much they care? -/-/-/
Hermit crab shops here and there /-/-/-/
to find a roomy shell. -/-/-/
She gently backs her baby in. -/-/-/-/
“Now, doesn’t that fit well?” -/-/-/
OCEANS OF LOVE
By Janet Lawler
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
The term enjambment comes from the French words jambe, meaning leg, and enjamber, meaning to straddle or step over. This is a literary device that allows the poet to compose a sentence that runs on to the next line before reaching a full stop.
Without any type of punctuation enjambment creates suspense and momentum.
Did you notice that the reader feels propelled forward through the poem?
Did you notice how these interruptions arouse uncertainty, an uneasy pause, encouraging readers to move to the next line.
LET’S BUILD A LITTLE TRAIN
By Julia Richardson
Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke
Let’s build a little train -/-/-/
To chug along the track -/-/-/
That goes from here to there -/-/-/
And circles round and back. -/-/-/
We’ll need a giant warehouse -/-/-/-
With lots of helping hands, -/-/-/
And engineer will manage -/-/-/-
And supervise commands. -/-/-/
Onomatopoeia indicates a word that sounds like what it refers to.
So why use onomatopoeia in your writing?
For example. You could say your house blew up. Or you could say my house went BOOM!
You could say you dropped the water balloon on the floor. Or you could say the water balloon went SPLAT.
In each of the second examples, the reader supplies the sensory effects with their own imagination. The imaginary world becomes their own.
Did you notice how the words “Chooooo!” and “Chugga!” heightened the experience for the reader?
Can you not hear your own child repeating these words? Perhaps over and over?
Did you notice how it broke up the monotony of the iamb with fun, lively and playful words?
Do you have a good WIP? Want to make it better than good? Why not insert some onomatopoeia. See what happens when you do.
THE CRAB BALLET
By Ren’ee LaTulippe
Art by Ce’cile Metzger
Example: Poetry In a Foreign Language
turtles spiral in between. /-/-/-/
A sea horse pair glides on the scene, -/-/-/-/
Bows deep and low, the soubresaut! -/-/-/-/
An elegant marine routine. -/-/-/-/
This is a story of how the tide is like ballet, with each character appearing then disappearing. We feel like we are watching theater with a theme, story and atmosphere.
But first a little introduction. Allow me to digress.
Ballet is made up of gestures, movements and ebb and flow, in many ways is like a tide.
The French phrasing has remained universal in Ballet. Ballet dancers across the world learn and can communicate with this universal ballet terminology.
How about using foreign words to infuse your poem with something rich and a taste of the unexplored?
Take your meter and rhythm away from the predictable.
You will of course need access to a good foreign language dictionary.
You will also need back matter to explain to the reader how to pronounce the words and their meaning.
Neigh-a-bye lullaby /-/
Slowly swaying rock – a – bye /-/-/-/
Nuzzle nose, breathing deep /-/ /-/
Plodding, nodding off to sleep /-/-/-/
Moo-a-bye lullaby /-/
Droop eyelids flutter – sigh //-/-/
Setting in, hoof to chin /-/ /-/
Milky dreams come floating in /-/-/-/
By Karen Jameson
Art by Wednesday Kirwan
What is metonymy?
Metonymy is a type of figurative language in which an object or concept is referred to not by its own name, but instead by the name of something closely associated with it.
The use of metonymy dates back to ancient Greece.
Metonymy is found in poetry, prose, and everyday speech.
A common form of metonymy uses a place to stand in for an institution, industry, or person.
Metonymy in literature often substitutes a concrete image for an abstract concept.
Did you notice how this was done? For example: Neigh-a-bye lullaby and Moo-a-bye lullaby?
Is this not a fun filled read-a-loud?
Example: The Couplet
There is a special place for books, -/-/-/-/
A place they live in shelves and nooks. -/-/-/-/
From A to Z stacked high in piles -/-/-/-/
These books go on for miles and miles. . . -/-/-/-/
So come inside and take a look -/-/-/-/
It’s time to find your favorite book! -/-/-/--/
Too many books to pick just one. . . -/-/-/-/
The trick is choosing-that’s the fun! -/-/-/-/
THE LIBRARY BOOK
By Gabby Dawnway
Illustrated by Ian Morris
By distilling the main ideas of the poem into brief two-line units, the poet creates more of an impact.
Emotion, and tone all must be condensed, making each word choice count.
Did you notice the light stepped pace with these couplets?
Did you notice the playful tone, as if tiptoeing into a room?
Did you notice how both lines complete the one thought?
Did you notice the image each couplet has created?
Example: The List Poem
Kindness is sometimes /--/-
a cup and a card -/--/
or a ladder, a truck, and a tree; --/--/--/
a scratch and a cuddle, -/--/-
a rake and a yard, -/--/
a cookie, a carrot, a key. -/--/--/
it’s seeds and a feeder, -/--/-
A seat on the train, -/--/
A daisy, a peach, or a pie; -/--/--/
A wave at a baker, -/--/-
a boost on a crane, -/--/
a sandwich shared up in the sky. -/--/--/
By Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Irene Chan
List poems are perfect when trying to use rhyme in picture books.
You are not forced into a dramatic arc.
Did you notice that list poem?
Did you notice the lyrical, rhythmical tone? If you were to read the rest of this book you would notice it’s not heavy in end rhymes. The rhyme is interspersed, like a flavorful spice.
Example: Internal rhyme
“Hurry-scurry, kids,” called Mom.
“Let’s jiggety-jog into town in our gracious-spacious automobile.”
Max and Molly hurry-scurried into the car.
“Okey-dokey?” asked Mom.
“I’m squished,” said Max.
“Move over, Molly.”
“I’m squashed,” said Molly.
“Mover over, Max.”
SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED
by Rebecca Kraft Rector
Art by Dana Wulfekotte
Internal rhyme occurs in the middle, or anywhere, in lines of poetry, except the end. It is a lyrical device.
You can take a story that has saturated the market and set it up a notch.
Did you notice the musicality in this story?
Did you notice the fun and hilarity factor?
So just go ahead and tell you story. Don’t be forced or constrained into a metrical pattern where the story is serving the rhyme.
Example: The Iamb
Once upon a forest floor /-/-/-/
A snout poked out a burrowed door -/-/-/-/
And wheezed and sneezed for on the breeze -/-/-/-/
There came a hint of . . . POO. -/-/-/
Sniff, sniff? Went mouse. Whiff, whiff! Went Mouse. -/-/-/-/
“Who left this poo outside my house?” -/-/-/-/
“I must undo this mystery. -/-/-/-/
Poo-dunit?” Oh, Squiiiiirel. . . /-/-/-
“Not me!” said Squirrel, who smelled it all. -/-/-/-/-
“This poo is big! My poo is small. -/-/-/-/
Ask Skunk. Oh, Skuuunk. . . -///-
A forest Floor Mystery
By Katelyn Aronson
Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
The iamb is a (da- DUM) rhythm. Because of its even pacing it is often referred to as the heartbeat rhythm.
This is all very lovely but why exactly should we study rhythm? In poetry it’s all about the -
Elevating a piece of work.
The pleasure of listening.
Creating a mood.
Painting with words.
Just like a heartbeat, iambs can lull you to sleep. Oh, what to do! Wait a minute!
Did you notice how this author chose to rouse us out of our boredom?
With a few spondees thrown in there.
Inserting metrical variation.
With a line of dialogue.
Adding lines that rhyme with nothing! Yes, you can do that!
How did you react when you read that fourth line?
Did you sit up like I did?
This is a delightful informational fiction book. So childlike and fun!
SUPER SECRET AGENT GUY
Written by Kira Bigwood
Illustrated by Celia Krampien
Example: The Trochee
Secret, secret agent guy, /-/-/-/
Working for the FBI. /-/-/ / /
On a mission from the top: /-/-/-/
Get your gear on – first things first – /-/-/-/
Pausing just to quench your thirst. /-/-/-/
Grappling hook and nighttime specs, /-/-/-/
Walkie – talkies, check check check! /-/-/ / /
The trochee is the opposite if the iamb. It begins with a hard beat followed by a soft beat.
The word trochee is Greek and comes from the word “wheel” which is often associate with a rolling effect and momentum.
Imagine the soft padding of your feet in the sand as you jog. We start with the propulsion. Then the body is momentarily suspended. Ending with the interruption of a fall. The trochee has a similar cascading effect as each foot is running into the beginning of the next foot. The result is that the trochaic meter has a strong forward momentum.
The trochee gives the reader a pause, a surprise, and an opportunity to enjoy a different type of poetry.
This is a delightful picture book and what fun to read! Wait for the twist at the end!
Example: Blank Verse
A child is born one winter day. -/-/-/-/
His mother calls him Lamb. -/-/-/
She hums a tune that has no words -/-/-/-/
And holds her baby’s hand. -/-/-/
The baby wakes. The baby sleeps. -/-/-/-/
And grow. One day he stands. -/-/-/
He falters like a wobbly colt. -/-/-/-/
His mother holds his hands. -/-/-/
The baby sleeps. The baby wakes. -/-/-/-/
He claps, again, again, -/-/-/
For hot cross buns. He pat-a-cakes -/-/-/-/
Just like a baker’s man. -/-/-/
By Tony Hohnson
Art by Amy June Bates
Blank verse is metered poetry but does not have to rhyme.
Blank verse will often use slant rhyme or near rhyme. Though even this is not required.
How did this poet make use of the blank verse?
This metered poem is done in quatrains with an alternation of tri meter/tetrameter.
The author has made ample use of the slant rhyme.
Example: Lamb/hands, again/man. You will see many more examples throughout the rest of this poem.
Blank verse allows you to tell you story with greater flexibility, without the challenges of the rules of rhyme.
Bored, Ignored, or feeling down? /-/-/-/
Need some fancy in your town? /-/-/-/
Want some shine upon your crown? /-/-/-/
Just add glitter!
Try a speck, a fleck a sprinkle, /-/-/-/-
see how things begin to twinkle. /-/-/-/-
A little here, a little there. -/-/-/-/
Glitter glitter everywhere!
Is your bedroom such a bore? /-/-/-/
How bout sparkle on your door? /-/-/-/
Could your art use something more? /-/-/-/
Just add glitter!
by Angela Diterlizzi
art by Smantha Cotterill
Spondee is a metrical device where you put an equal amount of stress on each word. It is commonly used to change the pace of a poem. To add a heightened feeling or emotional experience. It adds expectancy and or excitement.
Did you notice the use of the Spondee in the last line?
Did you notice that the last line in the stanza rhymes with nothing?
Did you feel yourself adding additional emphasis to this phrase?
Children will catch on fast, and love repeating the line with you.
Example: Cumulative Story Structure
This is the mess that we made.
These are the fish that swim in the mess that we made.
This is the seal that eats the fish that swim in the mess that we made.
This is the net that catches the seal, that eats the fish that swim in the mess that we made.
This is the boat of welded steel, that dumps the net, that catches the seal, that eats the fish that swim in the mess that we made.
THE MESS THAT WE MADE
By Michelle Lord
Art by Julia Blattman
A Cumulative Story is a story that builds on a pattern. It starts with one person, place, thing, or event. Each time a new person, place, thing, or event is shown, all the previous ones are repeated.
Each event reinforces the initiating problem of the story and a new attempt at solving it. It helps children to think of different solutions.
Did you notice the problem, initiating event, character intentions and desires, and moral are there?
This is fun because children soon pick up on the refrain and increase their own vocabulary.
Did you notice how each event add momentum? Thereby increasing tension.
Example: Stressed Beats
White cat Black cat /-/-
Blue cat Brown cat /-/-
High cat Low cat /-/-
Always upside-down cat. /-/-/-
Fluffed cat Bare cat /-/-
Round cat Square cat /-/-
Long cat short cat /-/-
Rarely-ever-there cat. /-/-/-
Bold cat shy cat /-/-
Nice cat mean cat /-/-
Wet cat mud cat /-/-
Super-duper clean cat. /-/-/-
By Catherine Amari and Anouk Han
Art by Erni Lenox
This is a poem picture book. This has a specific meter and rhyme scheme. The first three lines are trochee/ dimeter. The last line is trochee/ trimeter.
You might thing this is a simple rhyming book. Until you look further.
Did you notice that there are no end rhymes. Each line ends with cat, cat, cat. That is because the second to last word is the one that rhymes. We do not have to rhyme the last word. The only hard and fast rule is for a rhyme to land on a stressed beat.
Why not give it a go yourself? Write a poem using this technique of rhyming a stressed beat anywhere in the line. See it does not surprise you and refresh you.
Pick a stanza pattern you want. Make sure it is consistent. And have fun!
Example: The Simile
I love you like yellow. -/--/-
I love you like green. -/--/
Like flowe ry orchid -/--/-
And sweet tange rine. -/ /-/
I love you like silly, -/--/-
I love you like mud. -/--/
Like joyous and jolly. -/--/-
Like silent and sad. -/--/
Like crunchy and crispy. -/--/-
Like sweet and like tart. -/--/
I love you like crazy -/--/-
With all of my heart. -/--/
I LOVE YOU LIKE YELLOW
By Andrea Beaty
Art by Vashti Harrison
Have you ever found that words are not enough? Have you ever felt that there are no words to express how you feel? This is where a simile comes in.
Did you notice how the feelings of yellow and green are described in the next line?
Did you notice how these similes evoke an emotion or memory?
You will have to explore the playful language with the pictures in this delightful book.
Sun beach. Rise beach. Pail in hand. /-/-/-/
Found a dollar in the sand. /-/-/-/
Cool toes. What next? Who knows? /-/-/ /
Here comes the ocean! /--/-
Soft beach. Warm beach. Dig a seat. /-/-/-/
Something's nibbling on my feet! /-/-/-/
Hide those toes. What next? Who knows? /-/-/-/
Here comes the ocean! /--/-
HERE COMES OCEAN
By Meg Fleming
Art by Paola Zakimi
Diction, or choice of words, often separates good writing from bad writing.
In literature, writers choose words to create a mood, tone, and atmosphere. The sentence structure should be appropriate to the context in which it is used.
Did you notice the refrain also mimics the never-ending waves of the ocean?
Did you feel as if you are being rocked to sleep.
Watch your little one's eyes droop.
Example: Free Verse
Awaken to the calm-
the peaceful pink of dawn’s night.
Note a kiss of air, a soft breath,
a phantom wisp, faint as shadows,
cool and crisp.
Bend an ear to the breeze-
hear the scuffling, ruffling futter-
leaves go scuttling in the gutter.
See the shifting grasses shudder-
Sharing whispered summer secrets
With the silent, stalking egrets.
Hear the wind blow
By Doe Boyle
Illustrated by Emily Paik
Free verse can be defined as poetry that is free from limitations of regular meter and rhyme. A free verse poem provides artistic expression, in that it closely follows the cadences of human speech.
By using techniques such as metaphor, simile, alliteration, consonance, assonance, the writer of free verse does not just provide information, but also stirs emotion.
The peaceful pink of dawn’s night. Can you not see the sun set?
Note a kiss of air, a soft breath. Can you not smell the freshness in the forming dew?
A phantom wisp, faint as shadows. Can you not feel the breeze on your cheeks?
This picture book focuses on how the wind affects our world. Each stanza represents one of the thirteen categories of the Beaufort wind force scale.
Why not give it a try? Close your eyes, stir you senses and write what you feel.
Example: Catalectic, Hypercatalectic, Ellipsis
All we need --/
Is what’s found in the breeze, --/--/
In the stillness of nothing, --/--/-
In the rustle of trees, --/--/
When we take a deep breath, --/--/
What’s not seen – but is there. . . --/--/
All we need. . . is air. --/--/
ALL WE NEED
By Kathy Wolff
Illustrated by Margaux Meganck
Meter in poetry is what brings the poem to life and is the internal beat or rhythm with which it is read. Meter in poetry is a rhythm of accented and unaccented syllables arranged into feet. Many times, people confuse meter with syllables. However, in rhyming poetry, we only count hard beats. We find a pattern of hard beats and remain consistent through to the end of the poem. When it comes to soft beats, we are given a small reprieve.
Catalectic is where one or two soft beats are missing.
Hypercatalectic is where one or two soft beats are added.
This is allowable and advantageous. It prevents the poem from becoming sing-songy. The only danger is in the overuse of the soft beat. After that the reader becomes confused.
Ellipsis is a device that is used in narratives to omit some parts of a sentence or event, which gives the reader a chance to fill the gaps while acting or reading it out. It is usually written between the sentences as a series of three dots, like this: “…”
Did you notice that in this story the ellipsis is like a long breath, a pause, a heartbeat, a breath of air.
Example: Lyrical Prose
One night, under the light of the silvery moon,
all of Bear’s friends were deep asleep.
The Bear- wasn't sleepy he wanted to play.
So he wandered off to find some fun in people town.
Bare nosed around until he found...
It looked friendly.
Bear plopped down on its lap.
The Thingity-jig was springy thing.
by Kathleen Doherty
illustrated by Kristyna Litton
What makes a story lyrical?
There are many aspects to discuss.
For the sake of brevity, I will focus on two. Onomatopoeia and internal rhyme.
Onomatopoeia creates a sound effect that mimics the effect. It makes the description more expressive and interesting.
For instance, we could say she fell asleep. Or we could simply write: “Zzzzzz.“
This makes the descriptions livelier and more interesting, appealing directly to the senses of the reader.
Onomatopoeia helps the reader enter the world created. Onomatopoeic words have an effect on the readers’ senses, whether that effect is understood or not.
Internal rhyme is rhyme that occurs in the middle of lines of poetry, instead of at the ends of lines. A single line of poetry can contain internal rhyme (with multiple words in the same line rhyming), or the rhyming words can occur across multiple lines.
This gives you freedom to tell your story, without the confines of meter. It makes your manuscript musical. A manuscript that is fun to read will always stand out and rise above.
BOATS WILL FLOAT
By Andria Warmflash Rosennbaum
Illustrated by Brett Curzon
Example: Truncated Meter
Boats are bobbing in the bay, /-/-/-/
Waiting to be on their way. /-/-/-/
Longing for the reaching tide. /-/-/-/
Needing to explore and glide. /-/-/-/
Early morning, rise and shine, /-/-/-/
Fishing boats with nets and line. /-/-/-/
Underneath a cloudless sky, /-/-/-/
Dragon boats go flying by. /-/-/-/
When it comes to poetry meter/rhythm/ is more important than rhyme.
But even in this one can fall into a rut and become boring and tedious. One way to overcome this is:
This is when one or two soft beats are missing from the end of the line.
Did you notice in the lines above that the soft beat is missing at the end of each line? Maybe you didn’t notice. That’s because the soft beats are hardly missed.
The poem is lovely and well done.
In addition, this happens to be an informational picture book. You are being educated in the best way. Facts are woven in without our even noticing. Learning becomes fun.
Example: The Enjambment
Gisele the giraffe was hungry for leaves, -/--/-/--/
but the juiciest leaves were at the top of the trees. --/--/---/--/
She stretched out her neck, but as hard as she tried, -/--/--/--/
her tongue couldn’t reach, so she plopped down and cried. -/--/--/--/
The zebras and cheetahs and birds gather’d round -/--/--/--/
to find what was making that snuffly sound. -/--/--/--/
And discovered Gisele in a slump by the trees --/--/--/--/
with her neck in a knot and her chin on her knees. --/--/--/--/
HALF A GIRAFFE
By Jodie Parachini
Pictures by Richard Smythe
Enjambment carries an idea or thought over to the next line without a grammatical pause. The absence of punctuation allows for enjambment, and requires the reader to read through a poem’s line break without pausing in order to understand the conclusion of the thought or idea.
Enjambment in poetry creates a rhythm or pace for a poem that is different from end-stopping.
Did you notice the enjambments in these to stanzas?
When you read did you feel yourself increasing in speed?
Example: The Refrain
If I were a tree, -/--/
I know how I’d be. -/--/
I’d stand strong and wide, --/-/
my limbs side to side. --/-/
I’d stand towering, tall, --/--/
high above all, /-/-
my leaves growing big, --/-/
and buds on each twig. -/--/
If I were a tree, -/--/
that’s how I’d be. -/-/
IF I WERE A TREE
By Andrea Zimmerman
Art by Jing J Tsong
Refrain is a poetic device that repeats, at regular intervals, in different stanzas. It also contributes to the rhyme of a poem and emphasizes an idea through repetition.
A refrain can appear anywhere in the poem.
Did you notice that the refrain appears before the stanza?
Did you notice the refrain appears after the stanza?
This serves an extremely useful purpose with this poem. The ending is poignant, full of heart and takes your breath away.
THE NICE DREAM TRUCK
By Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
Example: The Anapest
When bedtime is near, --/--/
and teeth are all brushed. -/--/
And the house is asleep, --/--/
and noises are hushed, +-/--/
you might hear a tune, -/--/
You might be in luck. -/--/
You might get a visit. -/--/-
From the NICE DREAM TRUCK. --/ / /
An anapest consists of two unstressed syllables followed by on stressed syllable. This stress pattern gives anapestic verse a light and nimble rhythm that evokes the galloping of a horse or the rolling of ocean waves.
Anapest can become very sing-songy and the reader easily bored and reading tedious. There is a fix to this problem. Enter the truncated/headless meter. What is a truncated meter? What is headless meter?
Headless anapest is a first unstressed syllable that is missing or omitted.
Truncated meter is a line of poetry that is missing a syllable in the middle or at the end of a line.
Did you notice the headless meters in lines 1, 2. And lines 5 – 11?
Do you have a manuscript in anapest meter? Why not break it up? Insert a headless meter here and there and see what happens!
DEEP IN THE WOODS
Written by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Lane Smith
At the top of a hill
sits the house that is leaning.
A house that once wasn’t
but now it is peeling.
A house that was once - painted blue.
up the path
up the path that is hiding.
A path that once welcomed.
A path that is winding.
A path that’s now covered in weeds.
Repetition is a word or image, or phrase used multiple times in a text.
Here are some examples:
Time after time.
Over and over.
All for one and one for all.
Why use repetition in your writing?
If you want to create rhythm that can change the experience for a reader.
If you want to create a mood or mystery.
If you want to amplify a concept, thought or idea.
How did this author use repetition in this picture book?
Did you see an old house that was once full of life, inviting and cozy? I did.
Did you see the path that is hiding, now covered in weeds? I did.
Repetition has the effect of transporting the reader to another world. And I was.
My mom brought home a gift for me. -/-/-/-/
I bounded down the stairs, -/-/-/
then opened up the box and found -/-/-/-/
new underpants – six pairs. -/-/ /-
“Thanks, Mom, but what about my friends? -/-/-/-/
I bet they’d love some too.” -/-/-/
“Well, dear, I don’t think those will fit.” -/-/-/-/
I knew just what to do. -/-/-/
I MADE THESE ANTS SOME UNDERPANTS
By Derick wilder
Illustrated by K-Fai Steele
Caesura can occur at the middle of line, the beginning, or at the end of a poetic line.
One of the most powerful tools in any reader's arsenal is the pause. Where do pauses occur in a poem?
When a poem becomes monotonous
When you want to emphasize a thought or feeling.
When you want to create a surprise or produce variation.
When you want to slow or speed up the rhythm
To jar your reader in some way.
How do you create the pause in your poem?
By means of punctuation.
Comma, dashes, ellipsis, semicolon, or a period.
There are many things to recommend about this book besides the skilled use of the caesura. It has the excellent use of diction, the hilarity factor along with picture appeal. I suggest you go out and get this book to find out.
by Tony Johnston art by Amy June Bates