English 305. Scansion Exercise

This exercise is designed to strengthen your skills in scanning and close reading poetry, Choose a poem from the Norton Anthology of Poetry (either choose from the list of suggestions below or choose your own with the instructor's permission) and:

  • Scan it using the notations of stressed and unstressed syllables.
  • Mark the metric feet.
  • Mark the rhyme scheme/stanza form.
  • Mark and describe any other devices of sound int he poem, such as alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia).
  • Mark any enjambement, feminine rhymes, or off-rhymes
  • Write up a brief description labeling both the meter (e.g, iambic pentameter), and the stanza from (e.g., the Spenserian stanza, a sonnet, heroic couplets).
  • Then write up a description of how the meter and sound effects of the poem (including the relative constancy and variation of the meter) work with/against its themes and argument.

    Do not use any poems in Oliver's book. Some suggestions:

  • George Herbert, "The Collar"
  • John Donne, "The Sun Rising"
  • Robert Frost, "Design"
  • William Butler Yeats, "Sailing to Byzantium"
  • John Keats, "Ode on Melancholy"