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Poetry (by Moore)
Poetry (by Moore)
by Marianne Moore

Sound Check

Read this poem aloud. What do you hear?

While the poem reads like a casual snippet of conversation we might overhear at school, in the library, or at a café, the words also have a strong rhythmic quality that helps make them poetic. The repetition of the word "it" at the end of each phrase ("dislike it," "reading it," "contempt for it," "discovers in it") creates a staccato effect – short and accented, with a buoyant, jaunty feel. But this is not quite the regular and repetitive rhythm of conventional poetic meter, such as iambic pentameter (da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM). Compare how "Poetry" sounds next to a sonnet by Shakespeare or Phillip Sidney. "Poetry" sounds more natural and organic, almost like a horse galloping across a field or the cracking of a baseball bat.

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