Winter: Rhyming Discussion (Optional Extra Credit)1010 unread replies.1010 replies.INTRODUCTIONCraft elements refer to the building blocks of fiction/poetry. They include things like plot, character,

Winter: Rhyming Discussion (Optional Extra Credit)

1010 unread replies.1010 replies.


Craft elements refer to the building blocks of fiction/poetry. They include things like plot, character, point of view, imagery, rhyme, rhythm, meter, etc. Craft elements are the tools that writers use to build works of fiction/poetry, just as other types of artists use paint, clay, wood, metal, concrete, and even digital media to build creations for the sake of art, communication, or business. Creators use the tools of their craft to guide their audiences to focus on what’s most important in their creations. So, as readers of fiction/poetry, it’s worthwhile to ask how authors construct their creative work, and why they make their craft-related choices. And as creators ourselves, it’s crucial to consider how we can/should use the craft tools we have to construct our fiction/poetry.

In a previous modules, we learned about plot, character, and setting. Now let’s look at how poets use rhyme, rhythm, and meter. 


FIRST, read the “Rhyme, Rhythm, Meter” document.  Then, read Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” and listen to the audio version of Roethke reading this poem:

  • Music in Poetry: Rhythm, Meter, and Rhyme Links to an external site.
  • Theodore Roethke, My Papa’s Waltz Links to an external site.
  • Roethke reads “My Papa’s Waltz” (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Youtube video, just audio)

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.

OPTIONAL EXTRA CREDIT: Post a message below that addresses ONE of the following items (you’re encouraged to respond to two or more of these items, of course): 

  • 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. What do you think? And what specific craft elements help you answer this question?
  • For a fun creative challenge, post part or all of your response to Roethke’s poem as four lines of poetry or more. Use any type of rhyme/meter you choose. But do it right, or we’ll call you out on it 🙂

Note from Michelle: y the way, you won’t be able to see your classmates’ posts until you make your own post.  This just keeps people from copying each other instead of thinking it through for themselves.