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Sounds for Description (an essay about Prosody)

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Sounds for Description (an essay about Prosody)

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In poetry, many poets use prosody to bring their writing to life. Prosody is the pronunciation of a poem, and it usually includes elements such as sound, rhyme, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhythm, stress, and meter. These effects can take poetry to a completely different level, beyond only imagery. In the poem, ?The Word Plum,? by Helen Chasin, examples of alliteration and onomatopoeia are used to bring her subject, a plum, to life.

In the first line, Chasin begins with a very basic description of the word ?plum?: ?The word plum is delicious?. The interesting thing is, she?s not even describing the fruit, but the word. The word ?delicious? has an ?l?, as does the word ?plum?, and I see this creates a harmony between the noun and adjective. The ?c? and ?s? of ?delicious? creates somewhat of a juicy sound; as a ripe plum, being eaten, is generally slurped with each bite.

In the second line, onomatopoeia is introduced with the two verbs, ?pout and push, luxury of?. ?Pout and push? are great for the beginning of that second line because, following ?delicious?, they create a new sound, yet they begin to describe why it?s delicious. Alliteration is also introduced with these two words, and they are not capitalized, which creates a balance; two verbs, four letters each, not capitalized, and both beginning with ?p?s.? And then, ?luxury? begins with an ?l?, which begins to spell the word ?plum?.

In the third line, again without capitalization, ?self-love, and savoring murmur?, Chasin completes the spelling of ?plum?. Again, she uses alliteration with the letter ?s? to create that juicy sound, ?self-love/savoring?. Perhaps, also, ?murmur? is used to create somewhat of a ?Mmm? effect.

In the fourth line, she creates a new alliteration? ?full in the mouth and falling?. The ?f?s? could even be used to describe the soft, yet splitting sound of the plum?s flesh being bitten into. These sound effects start bringing a plum into focus and they seem to create...