Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

Rhythm in Poetry


by Allan Abbott 1927

THE rhythmic element in poetry is sometimes approached, in schools, as if it were on the one hand a form of algebra, not to be dealt with except through symbols and formulae; or on the other, a mystical something perceptible only by the seventh son of a seventh son, and far from the ordinary experience of boys and girls. Neither of these ideas is true; for although the simpler forms of rhythm are capable of description by formula, and the more subtle forms pass unnoted by the insensitive or the uninstructed, yet rhythm itself is one of the commonest delights of childhood and youth. It begins in the nursery, with "Pease porridge hot" and "Three little pigs went to market"; it appears on the sidewalk, in the familiar rhymes for counting-out and jumping rope; it breaks out in the study hall in "All policemen have big feet" (no need to tell any teacher what stamping rhythm follows!). On the football field, it dictates the school yell and the snake dance of victory. It is the sheer pleasure of rhythm that makes one dance to the hurdy-gurdy, march beside the brass band, or even in later life want to tap the foot or nod the head at the symphony concert. It is, in short, essentially physical, emotional, and naive; only secondarily rationalized, explained, or planned for. And although in our more sophisticated years we may become a bit ashamed to march with the drums or beat time with the orchestra, we can still note a quickening of the pulse, a change in the breathing, a tenseness of the muscles, that is the sign of our instinctive physical response to the emotional appeal of rhythm. If we completely lose this feeling of physical response, no amount of understanding of the formal technique of rhythm will make us recapture its spirit.


To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase Rhythm in Poetry
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 28 Number 7, 1927, p. 679-689
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 5809, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 7:47:59 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles
There are no related articles to display

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Allan Abbott


Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS