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Structural Devices in Poetry

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Aimee Terravechia

on 29 January 2016

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Transcript of Structural Devices in Poetry

Structural Devices in Poetry
Structural Devices
Many often inclue auditory devices in poetry (rhyme, meter, etc) under the umbrella term of "Structural Devices."

For the sake of this class, we'll be identifying structural devices as elements of poetry that specifically reference the phyical structure of the poem.
The most basic structure of a poem is the line.

A line is pretty self-explanatory. Look at "The Wars" by Moss on pg 146 of your text.

"How can I tell you of the terrible cries"

A stanza is the equivalent of a poetic paragraph. It is a grouping of lines together. Some poems contain only one stanza. Others contain many.
The Waking
by Theodore Roethke, pg 44
If we look at "The Wars" again on pg 146, we'll see that this is a poem made up of two stanzas. The first stanza begins with the first line, and ends at "Of damage done in the polite wars?"
The easiest way to quote poetic lines when referencing them in a paper or a discussion is to use a slash to represent the line break:

"How can I tell you of the terrible cires/Never sounded, of the nerves that fail/ Not in the jungle warfare or a southern jail..."

Organizing Lines
In addition to organizing lines into stanzas, you can also organize lines through repetition. This can be the repetition of an entire line, or words, phrases, or of sounds.

Stanza Lengths
Stanzas are often identified with terminology that refers to their length:
2 - Couplet
3 - Tercet
4 - Quatrain
5 - Quintain
6 - Sestet
Stanza Lengths
So, a couplet is a stanza of 2 lines, while a tercet is a stanza of 3 lines, and so on.

Why use Stanzas?
Stanzas aren't mean to break apart a poem as much as they're meant to provide an opportunity for the poet to create a shift in theme, mood, or subject matter.

Refrains are lines that are repeated in their entirety.

Many types of formal poetry rely on a specific combination of auditory and structural devices.

Why use Stanzas?
Do you sense a shift in "The Wars" when the first stanza ends and the second begins?
Recall some of the poems you read last week. They relied heavily on repetition. Look at "The Waking" by Roethke on page 44 for an example of a refrain in action.
Punctuation & Line Breaks
The last structural devices we'll look at are puncutation & line breaks.
Punctuation & Line Breaks
Look againat "The Wars" on page 146. Notice that Moss doesn't end each line at the end of a sentence, or even with punctuation.
Punctuation & Line Breaks
"How can I tell you of the terrible cries / Never sounded, of the nerves that fail, / Not in jungle warfare or a southern jail, / But in some botched affair where two people sit / Quite calmly under a blood-red lamp..."
Punctuation & Line Breaks
When the line ends in punctuation (line 2) the line is called

When the line does not end in punctuation (line 1), it is called a run-on line, or an
Why the distinction?
As with everything in poetry, there are specific reasons one should opt to utilize either an end-stop or an enjambent.

form follows function.
Why the distinction?
An enjambment urges the reader to move to the next line without pausing. It lessens the sing-song effect or a regular end-rhyme pattern.
Why the distinction?
An end-stop will slow the reader down, making them pause at the end of the line.
What about other punctuation?
A mark of punctuation that comes within the line itself is called a
. Caesuras cause the reader to pause or stop in the middle of a line, providing a clear break in thought or slowing the pace of the poem.
Why punctuation?
Punctuation slows down the reader. The more punctuation, the slower the pace of the poem.

Different types of punctutaion have different types of pauses.
Why punctuation?
a period "." creates the heaviest pause

a comma "," creates a weaker one.
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