FIRST, read the “Rhyme, Rhythm, Meter” document, read Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” and listen to the audio file of Roethke reading this poem.
SECOND, use the items above to understand how incredibly important this info is to poetry–and also to fiction and even casual conversation!
Examples from everyday language: Rhythm and meter tell us what words/syllables to stress.
A sign hanging outside an auto repair shop reads, “German Car Specialists.” German CAR Specialists means something very different than GERMAN Car Specialists, doesn’t it? After all, do we care what nationality our mechanics are?
A sign hanging outside a seafood restaurant reads, “All You Can Eat Shrimp!” ALL You Can EAT SHRIMP means something very different than “All You can EAT, SHRIMP!” The latter isn’t going to draw a lot of customers, I think.
THIRD, Post a message on the forum below that addresses the following items:
See if you can identify the rhythm and meter Roethke uses in his poem, and share some thoughts on why he might have chosen this rhythm/meter. How does it impact the subject of the poem? Why might this rhythm/meter be an appropriate choice for this poem?
Many readers believe this poem is about something negative–abuse, neglect, etc. Other readers believe it’s a happy, nostalgic memory. Which is it? And what specific craft elements help readers answer this question?
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