Emily Dickinson Slant Rhyming Structure

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Emily Dickinson was an American poet who became one of the defining poets of her generation. Though she did not see great success in her lifetime, her poems have been posthumously acclaimed and critiqued by many. Her method of writing was unique compared to the norm, which has proved to be her strength and downfall. Through her defining style, Emily Dickinson used known methods and her own personal idiosyncrasies to write about the subjects that personally enthralled her. While there are exceptions to the rule, a great majority of Emily Dickinson's poems follow a similar structure. Dickinson's poems were written in a lyrical form which employs the use of only one speaker to drive the narrative of the story. True to the characteristics of…show more content…
She was notably known for not using perfect rhymes in her poems. Instead, she often used what is called "slant rhyme" which means that the two words that are being paired together to form a rhyme only share slight similarities in sound. In addition to this, many of Dickinson's poems use an ABCB rhyming structure, meaning that the second and fourth lines of the quatrain rhyme while the first and the third do not. As an example of her methods, the poem "This was a Poet - It is That" displays Dickinson's use of slant rhyming and an ABCB structure. The first quatrain of the poem employs a perfect rhyme: "This was a Poet - It is That/Distills amazing sense/From ordinary Meanings-/And Attar so immense" (Dickinson, 644) True to the ABCB rhyming structure, the last words of the second and fourth lines, "sense" and "immense" respectively, rhyme perfectly. The second and third quatrains also follow the ABCB rhyming structure and are perfect rhymes. However, there is a deviation in the fourth quatrain. While the fourth quatrain still follows an ABCB structure, Dickinson uses a slant rhyme opposed to a perfect rhyme: "Of Portion - so unconcious-/The Robbing - could not harm-/Himself - to Him - a Fortune-/Exterior to Time-" (Dickinson, 644) The final letters of the second and fourth lines, harm and time respectively, do not entirely rhyme, only sharing slight similarities in the last
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