57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Introduction to Poetry and Poetic Form
I came across an early edition of Sound and Sense a few years ago. At first glance the slighty yellowed text appeared foreboding with chapters like denotation and connotation, imagery, figurative lanaguage, allusion, tone, rhythm and meter, sound and meaning, and so forth. I found it hard to imagine a less lifeless approach to poetry. However, the text did seem to...
Published on June 9, 2000 by Michael Wischmeyer
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little Simplistic
I think of this as a high school text; It probably does a good job there, but I found it a bit patronizing and opinionated..
Published 15 months ago by Luke Dzwonczyk
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Introduction to Poetry and Poetic Form,
I came across an early edition of Sound and Sense a few years ago. At first glance the slighty yellowed text appeared foreboding with chapters like denotation and connotation, imagery, figurative lanaguage, allusion, tone, rhythm and meter, sound and meaning, and so forth. I found it hard to imagine a less lifeless approach to poetry. However, the text did seem to contain a sizeable anthology as an appendix and poetry was abundant in every chapter. I reasoned that I could skip the poetic structure discussions and simply read the poetry.
But from the beginning I found Perrine's style and approach to be stimulating, rather than analytical. Throughout we are immersed in poetry, great poetry, familiar poetry, unfamiliar poetry. Perrine argues that poetry needs to be read and reread carefully for full understanding and appreciation. We need to learn to think about poetry with some seriousness, but not in a cold, calculating manner. We approach new poetry with our eyes and ears open, our senses alive.
Yes, as other reviewers point out, Sound and Sense is structured and does methodically explore poetic forms in some detail. But this is not a drawback. It is actually an aid to understanding. Perrine manages to achieve his instructional objective without diluting his central message: poetry is to be enjoyed. He never forgets that his subject is poetry, and not poetic form and structure.
I have since learned that Perrine's text is still in use today, nearly fifty years after publication of the first edition. (See recent 10th edition 0155073966, June 8, 2000.) How can that be? Few textbooks achieve ten printings, much less ten editions. Even the title change signifies respect; it is no longer simply Sound and Sense, it is "Perrine's Sound and Sense".
I highly recommend Perine's text to anyone willing to invest a little time and study to poetry. The return will be worthwhile. I give Sound and Sense five stars.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for use with students,
I am currently using this book with 11th grade English students, and they have been truly caught up in it. We are actually having arguments in class over poetry!! I do find, however, that it is helpful to do the chapter on rhythm and meter much earlier than I would if I were following the chapters in order. My experience is that students have a difficult time hearing the rhythm of poetry and are generally unable to read aloud with any success. Jumping ahead early to the chapter on rhythm and meter and having the students tap out the meters and then mark the scansion produces a wonderful improvement in their ability to hear the poems and read them aloud. I would heartily recommend this book for use in grades 11 and 12, and for college freshman. It makes the study of poetry hugely enjoyable, as it should be but rarely is, for both student and teacher.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good AP Textbook,
My senior AP Literature and Composition class is using this book as a textbook, and I would have to say it is the best high school English book I've ever used. The questions following each included piece really helps you to focus on what is important in the passage, and the introductions to each chapter are brief and to the point.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide for the Aspiring and Seasoned Poet Alike,
Bottom-Line: I highly recommend "Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" not only to aspiring and seasoned poets, but for readers of poetry as well.
I am a writer. I am a Poet; there I've said it (deep breath); I weaver of words, a spinner of tales, and to hear my wife tell it, a wordsmith. It took me a long time after I started writing poetry for me to finally claim the title as my own. I wrote poetry but I did not feel like a poet; I was not and am not classically trained in the arcane art of poetry. My degrees are in Leadership and Business Administration not Fine Arts. When I first started writing poetry I had no idea what an Iambic meter, Iambic Pentameter, or even a meter were when speaking of poetic creation. I wrote my poetry from the heart and soul not caring about the "rules" of writing poetry.
But then my wife suggested that I might want to actually study the mechanics of poetry in order to better understand the art-form. She suggested that I might want to pick up a copy of what is widely regarded as the definitive guide to writing and understanding poetry: "Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" by Thomas R. Arp. I picked up the ninth edition of this seminal book.
"Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" is a relatively thin volume considering the subject matter, checking in at 412 pages, and is divided into two sections: Part 1 The Elements of Poetry, and; Part 2 Poems for Further Reading.
"Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" is not casual reading, it is at its core and test book meant to teach, to mentor the reader in the foundations of writing poetry. The author not only lays out the case for poetic creation, but also give examples of what he is trying to relate; poetry is sprinkled like marker posts throughout the book pointing you in the right poetic direction.
Another was "Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" is like a test book is that it asks question of the reader about a poem given as an example in the book; for example after Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem The Eagle, the book asks the following questions:
1. What is peculiarly effective about the expression "crooked hands," "Close to the sun," "Ringed with the azure world," "wrinkled," "crawls," and "like a thunderbolt"?
2. Notice the formal pattern of the poem, particularly the contrast of "the stands" in the first stanza and "he falls" in the second. Is there any other contrast between the two stanzas?
For anyone unfamiliar with The Eagle, by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892) here it is:
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure worlds, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from the mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
By asking question, and then answering them of course, the reader is led to a better understanding of poetry and the way in which different poet's covey their message within the parameters of fixed poetic rules. In "Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" the author, in the case Thomas R. Arp (Laurence Perrine was too ill to update this edition) lays out a rule or argument, gives an example of that rule in the form of a poem, and then asks questions of the reader to broaden, or tighten their understanding of the concepts presented. I found this to be a very effect method of coming to an understanding of poetry and the various rules governing its creation.
I tend to be a free-verse poet; I tried to write more structured verse but I found it too constraining. I did not always want my lines and stanzas to rhyme or otherwise conform to some of the more ridged rules of poetry, so I tend to write outside the lines as it were. But "Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" helped me tighten my free-verse poetry by pointing out the right and wrong way to write this type of poetry. I have learned that I can drift outside the rules as long as I use some of the rules or poetry. Before reading "Perrine's Sound and Sense" I thought the rules of poetry were set in stone, but after reading the book I realize that poets are free to express themselves in a number of ways and still wear the label Poet.
I highly recommend "Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry" not only to aspiring and seasoned poets, but for readers of poetry as well. Gaining a broader understanding of what poetry is, can only heighten ones enjoyment of writing and reading this wonderfully expressive art-form.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a little at a time,
By A Customer
I've been nibbling away at a 20 year old edition of this book for a few years in my spare time, and almost every bite has increased my abitity to appreciate poetry. I like the examples, most of them seem pretty old, Frost is about as modern as he gets, but thats ok with me. You might find this book a little annoying if it was required reading in a course, sometimes it asks more questions than it answers.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a great resource (that I'd give 3.5 Stars, actually),
By A Customer
My first exposure to Sound and Sense was in high school, and, at the time, I found the book so valuable a resource that I later purchased a copy. Post-college, my views have changed somewhat.
If the tone of the writing was not so condescending, this could be a great book. It defines most of the terms necessary to understand critical texts on poetry, including those analyses related to meter, style, and tone. I find the questions after each poem to be helpful and thought-provoking. That said, it is frustrating to me that the author presents ideas and arguments in absolutes (must, must not, never, always, etc.) and then asserts that the logic that MUST be applied to point A CANNOT be applied to point B (but maybe I have spent too many hours working with lawyers).
My suggestion would be to read the text with a grain of salt. Glean the terminology, answer the questions posed at the end of each poem, follow their suggestions of rereading and considering the many facets of poetry, and try to overlook the condescending manner in which the authors display their opinions as fact.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for classroom use!,
By A Customer
Perrine's Sound and Sense provides a through review of various poems through the ages. With thought provoking questions for the reader, this book has helped my Advanced Placement English class with poetry analysis. I highly recommend this book for both teachers and avid poets.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sound and sense,
This review is from: Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry (Hardcover)
I had an old paperback copy of this book while in college many many years ago. I had bought it used and it was pretty beat up, but I still read parts of it from time to time. I decided to get a hardback copy and was surprised to find it had been updated and re-issued 10 or 11 times since I graduated college.
I am very pleased with the updates and with my new copy.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, well-written,
By A Customer
As a University student at Canada, I found this book much more helpful than my profs explanations, which do not go as in detail the elements of poetry.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delivers pretty much what you expect,
Most people buying this probably need it for a class or something, like me. If so, it does its job pretty well. Even if you're not into poetry, it is probably one of the better books out there in terms of helping the inexperienced to understand poetry. Poetry is not my cup of tea but I do have to give it credit for helping me understand it when I would sometimes struggle.
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Perrine's Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry (Perrine's Sound & Sense: An Introduction to Poetry) by Greg Johnson (Paperback - June 1, 2007)