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Rhyme Scheme and Stanzas

Discussion in 'English' started by sm25, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I understand this topic has been brought up before, but there has been no definitive answer given. Should students start over with A when they get to a new stanza or do they continue with the alphabet? I have always learned and taught students to continue the alphabet. These sites also back up that theory: http://education.seattlepi.com/finding-rhyme-scheme-start-over-stanza-6061.html and http://www.holmdelschools.org/schools/satz/eng_dept/Writing styles/Poetry/Terms/rhyme.htm. But there are so many people with differing opinions, especially at my work site.

    Thank you for your help!

    pepper5 likes this.
  2. NewToTeachingOldToMaths

    NewToTeachingOldToMaths Lead commenter

    If you consider a poem in 5-line stanzas, with the same rhyme scheme throughout (let us say it is AABBA - the well-known rhyme scheme of the limerick), I don't think you would say that the second stanza was CCDDC, and the third stanza EEFFE. Not least because, if the poem ran to 14 or more verses, you'd run out of letters (unless you started using Greek letters, like a mathematician ... )

    I think you'd just say that each verse had the rhyme scheme AABBA ... taking care, however, to explain to your pupils that the A of the first stanza does not need to rhyme with the A of the second stanza ... it can be a whole new A, because the meaning of A and B is re-set for each verse.

    Hmmmm ... slightly difficult to explain, that ...
  3. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    I've always continued the alphabet. I've never analysed a poem that ran out of letters!
    VeronicAmb likes this.
  4. rustyfeathers

    rustyfeathers Occasional commenter

    Rather depends on if the rhyme scheme is contained neatly per stanza, or if it spills over - for instance, with the last lines of each stanza rhyming. Frankly, I sometimes find verbalising the rhyme scheme easier: "quatrains with alternate lines rhyming", "rhyming couplets", etc.
  5. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    You have come to the right person with your question. I've just written about 1,500 poems for children and 99% of them have been written with both rhyme and with metre. I'll explain: Heptameter usually means that there are 7 feet (either iambic or anapaestic) and this would make a whole line rather long. So we break it into two lines and usually there are four feet/beats on one line and three on the second (rhyming line). So you have ABAB, with B being the rhyming line. This scheme continues during the rest of the poem, with ABAB. Tetrameter = 4 feet/beats (either iambic or anapaestic) on each line. The first line and the second line rhyme, ie AA and the third and fourth line rhyme, BB. You indent for the rhyming lines, ie they usually start under the third letter from the line above. If you go to my poems (and there are hundreds on my website), you'll see hundreds (no much more than a thousand) examples and also the explanation again. I've also explained this on attachments to my poems which are on here.
  6. Alexander_the_Analytical

    Alexander_the_Analytical New commenter

    In my experience, if you do run into a poem that has a rhyming scheme without sufficient letters to complete the entire poem, you don't need to continue with Greek letters. Instead, you can continue after "Z" with " A' ", " B' ", etc... If somehow, you are analyzing a poem that reaches " Z' ", you can just continue on with " A'' ". Therefore, you don't need to start over after each and every stanza.

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