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Poetry is one of the most effective and efficient forms of expression. From the time
when we were young, we’ve been exposed to poetry.
Poetry is wonderful to study, learn and analyse. In Grade 8, your aim is to have fun
with poetry.
Because there’s so much fun to have, Grade 8 poetry study is approached in two
possible ways: SOUND and IMAGERY
Your first exposure to poetry: Nursery rhymes are poems. The most important
aspects here are the RHYMES, the age-appropriate content and the rhythm which
allowed the rhymes to be sung in some instances. Because most are very short,
this allowed for the rhymes to be learnt very easily when you were young.
Think of some nursery rhymes that you heard as a young child.
List them below:
Which were your favourites? Why?
As a child, you learnt a very valuable tool in poetry – RHYME. Rhyme works on
sound. Words that rhyme have part of the sound of the word the same. Share some
Why is rhyme such a useful tool in poetry?
Now that you are older, do you think that ALL poems have to rhyme? Explain.
Remember the Shakespeare Sonnet you did in Term 1? Do you remember which
words RHYMED?
Here it is again:
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Available in the public domain but sourced from the following site:
Discuss in class why Shakespeare has used the rhyming arrangement that he has.
Is it accidental or done on purpose? How do you know?
Rhyming is only one form of sound DEVICE used in poetry. There are others. In
Grade 8 we focus on rhyme and these three sound devices:
Assonance: ________________________________________________________
Fill in the definitions for each of the above words.
What is the EFFECT in poetry of using ALLITERATION?
What is the EFFECT in poetry of using ASSONANCE?
How does ONOMATOPOEIA add to the content and meaning of a poem?
Consider the following examples all taken from a wonderfully informative site called
YOURDICTIONARY.COM, which can be found following this link: In each
case, explain how the sound device affects the poem.
Alliteration in Poems
There are numerous examples of alliteration in poems. Here are examples of
alliteration taken from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe:
Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary
...rare and radiant maiden
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
In this Poe poem (lol), weak and weary; rare and radiant; silken, sad, uncertain and
rustling; deep and darkness, etc. are all examples of alliteration.
Alliteration in Tongue Twisters
Alliteration also makes tongue twisters even more difficult to say:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter
Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many
pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep. The seven silly sheep Silly Sally
shooed shilly-shallied south. These sheep shouldn’t sleep in a shack; Sheep
should sleep in a shed.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck
wood? A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck if a woodchuck
would chuck wood.
What is alliteration of the “S” sound called?
Fun with Assonance
Assonance is used to great effect in poetry, but it doesn't have to be used by serious
poets only. Consider this fun little ditty by Dr. Suess that entertains children
West Beast East Beast by Dr. Seuss
Upon an island hard to reach,
The East Beast sits upon his beach.
Upon the west beach sits the West Beast.
Each beach beast thinks he's the best beast.
Which beast is best?...Well, I thought at first,
That the East was best and the West was worst.
Then I looked again from the west to the east
And I liked the beast on the east beach least.
Identify all of the examples of assonance that you can find in this poem.
Fun with Onomatopoeia
Mom & Dad Are Home
Slam! Slam!
Go the car doors.
Jangle! Jangle!
Go the house keys.
Jiggle! Jiggle!
Go the keys in the door.
Goes the front door!
Thump! Thump!
That is me running down the stairs.
Guess what?
Mom and Dad are home!!
iris eye by zero78o:
Poetry does not only evoke sensory responses in terms of SOUND. IMAGERY is
also a vital tool in poetry.
IMAGERY is a tool used to create mental IMAGES or pictures, almost like creating a
vision in your mind.
Mind’s Eye
Mental Health Insurance:
The easiest way to do this is through COMPARISONS.
There are THREE main ways that comparisons work:
There are others, but we do not worry about them in Grade 8. If you understand
these three, then you are on your way to becoming a master of poetry. Who knows?
Even a grand master poet…
A wonderful online site called LITERARYDEVICES.NET has many examples of
these three forms of comparison. Summarised for you here are the most pertinent
Metaphor is a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or hidden
comparison between two things or objects that are poles apart from each other but
have some characteristics common between them. In other words, a resemblance of
two contradictory or different objects is made based on a single or some common
In simple English, when you portray a person, place, thing, or an action
as being something else, even though it is not actually that “something else”, you are
speaking metaphorically. “He is the black sheep of the family” is a metaphor because
he is not a sheep. However, we can use this comparison to describe an association
of a black sheep with that person. A black sheep is an unusual animal and typically
stays away from the herd, and the person you are describing shares similar
Furthermore, a metaphor develops a comparison which is different from a simile i.e.
we do not use “like” or “as” to develop a comparison in a metaphor. It actually makes
an implicit or hidden comparison and not an explicit one.
Most of us think of a metaphor as a device used in songs or poems only, and that it
has nothing to do with our everyday life. In fact, all of us in our routine life speak,
write and think in metaphors. We cannot avoid them. Metaphors are sometimes
constructed through our common language. They are called conventional
metaphors. Calling a person a “night owl” or an “early bird” or saying “life is a
journey” are common conventional metaphor examples commonly heard and
understood by most of us. Below are some more conventional metaphors we often
hear in our daily life:
My brother was boiling mad. (This implies he was too angry.)
The assignment was a breeze. (This implies that the assignment was not
It is going to be clear skies from now on. (This implies that clear skies are not
a threat and life is going to be without hardships)
The skies of his future began to darken. (Darkness is a threat; therefore, this
implies that the coming times are going to be hard for him.)
Her voice is music to his ears. (This implies that her voice makes him feel
A simile is a figure of speech that makes a comparison, showing similarities
between two different things. Unlike a metaphor, a simile draws resemblance with
the help of the words “like” or “as”. Therefore, it is a direct comparison.
We can find simile examples in our daily speech. We often hear comments like “John
is as slow as a snail.” Snails are notorious for their slow pace and here the slowness
of John is compared to that of a snail. The use of “as” in the example helps to draw
the resemblance. Some more examples of common similes are given below.
Our soldiers are as brave as lions.
Her cheeks are red like a rose.
He is as funny as a monkey.
The water well was as dry as a bone.
He is as cunning as a fox.
Personification is a figure of speech in which a thing, an idea or an animal
is given human attributes. The non-human objects are portrayed in such a way that
we feel they have the ability to act like human beings. For example, when we say,
“The sky weeps” we are giving the sky the ability to cry, which is a human quality.
Thus, we can say that the sky has been personified in the given sentence.
Look at my car. She is a beauty, isn’t it so?
The wind whispered through dry grass.
The flowers danced in the gentle breeze.
Time and tide waits for none.
The fire swallowed the entire forest.