We av three major genre of literature, they are drama, prose and poetry.
But enjambment in poetry is a sensible case.
Enjambment is the continuation of a sentence or
clause over a line-break. If a poet allows all the
sentences of a poem to end in the same place
as regular line-breaks, a kind of deadening can
happen in the ear, and in the brain too, as all the
thoughts can end up being the same length.
Enjambment is one way of creating audible
interest; others include caesurae, or having
Enjambment is one way poets can manipulate
the rhythm of their poems.
The rhythm in poetry is often created by
meter , which is the specific pattern of
stressed syllables in a poem. Remember a
stressed syllable is simply the one you
emphasize when you say the word. For
instance, the word poetry has three syllables;
the first syllable, 'po' contains the emphasis
and so is the stressed syllable. The other two
syllables are unstressed. Poets use the
stresses on words to create the meter or beat
of a poem. So what does this have to do with
Well enjambment occurs when a syntactic unit
does not end within the metrical pattern. Let's
break that definition down to simpler terms. In
prose you write in sentences, there is no
specific beat and you end your thought with a
period or another end mark. In poetry, you
write in lines, each with a specific pattern of
beats. Each line in a poem does not have to
be a full sentence. Thus, the thought or
syntactic unit does not have to be all in one
line. Enjambment occurs when a poet breaks
the normal beat and continues the meaning to
The true use of enjambment is best seen
through examples, so lets analyze some
Look at this poem
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety."
hint at enjambment. Which lines do not end
with some sort of punctuation? You can see
that lines one and eight have no end
punctuation. Reread line one:
My heart leaps up when I behold
What did he behold? Is the whole thought
there? In this poem, we do not see what the
narrator is beholding until we continue on to
the next line. Line two shows that he is
beholding a rainbow. This is enjambment.
would not get the whole picture. The same
goes for line eight:
And I could wish my days to be
What does he want his days to be? You don't
learn that until you move on to the next line.
Thus, lines one and eight portray enjambment.
The other lines are all end-stopped lines , each
one has a pause at the end marked by
punctuation. The punctuation easily helps a
reader realize a pause is needed.
However, it is important to note that not all
poets use punctuation to indicate enjambment.
Always check the meaning of the lines to
ensure it is a true enjambment.
"Does it dry up"
This line is another example of enjambment;
this simile a dropped dream
to a raisin drying in the sun, starts in line two
and continues into line three.
Look over the
rest of the poem. Can you spot any more
examples of enjambment? This poem is a
good example of how enjambment does not
always have to lack ending punctuation. Lines
four and seven both end with a dash but each
shows enjambment by continuing its meaning
onto the next line.
This is why you always
need to check the meaning of the lines to tell
whether enjambment has been used.
Thank you for your time.