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Higher Education

Perrine's Sound & Sense: An Introduction to Poetry, 15th Edition

  • Greg Johnson
  • Thomas R. Arp
  • ISBN-10: 1337097616
  • ISBN-13: 9781337097611
  • 464 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2015, 2012, 2009
  • COPYRIGHT: 2018 Published
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About the Product

A best-selling introduction to poetry for more than 50 years, PERRINE'S SOUND AND SENSE: AN INTRODUCTION TO POETRY, 15e, succinctly covers the basics with detailed chapters on the elements of poetry, unique materials on evaluating poetry, exemplary selections, and exercises and study questions that guide understanding. Every chapter introduction bears the mark of Laurence Perrine's crisp, clean, and descriptive prose, and every poem selected as an example brings text concepts to life. With an emphasis on teaching students to read, understand, and evaluate poetry, this compact and concise anthology provides a systematic guide for discovering how and what a poem means. Its suggestions for writing also help students sort out their feelings and ideas, enabling them to assist others in sharing their experience. The 15th edition contains over 50 new poems, a new Featured Poet (Sylvia Plath), and a new poet in the Contemporary Collection (Louise Gluck).


  • An expansive collection of Featured Poets includes John Donne from the Renaissance, John Keats and Emily Dickinson from the 19th century, and Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath from the 20th century. Each is represented by a sufficient number of works to enable students to study them as individual artists.

  • The Contemporary Collection presents six or seven poems from each of five contemporary poets: Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Sharon Olds, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Natasha Trethewey and Louise Gluck.

  • Approximately 25 percent of the poems in the book have been added or relocated, including works by Sherman Alexie, Elizabeth Bishop, Henri Cole, Billy Collins, Countee Cullen, Emily Dickinson, Mark Doty, Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Steven Dunn, George Gordon, Lord Byron, Donald Hall, Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, Clive James, John Keats, Galway Kinnell, Yusef Komunyakaa, Stanley Kunitz, Julia Alvarez, Christopher Marlowe, Cleopatra Mathis, Judson Mitcham, Joyce Carol Oates, Mary Oliver, Meghan O'Rourke, Linda Pastan, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Katha Pollitt, Christina Rossetti, Natasha Tretheway, James Wright, and William Butler Yeats.

  • For over 50 years, Laurence Perrine's exceptional chapters covering the elements of poetry have effectively introduced students to poetry. From "What Is Poetry?" and "How to Read a Poem" to imagery, allusion, tone, rhythm and meter, these concise chapters offer unparalleled guidance and insight to understanding poetry that remain true to Perrine's original vision -- and true to the serious study of literature.

  • Unique chapters on evaluating poetry speak directly to students with straightforward answers to essential questions that most introduction to poetry books ignore: "Is some literature better?" and "How can it be evaluated?"

  • Throughout the introductions to poetry elements, exemplary literary selections bring concepts to life in crystal-clear detail as well as represent the best and most important literature that many students will encounter in college.

  • "Writing About Poetry" offers step-by-step guidance in "Choosing a Topic," "Proving Your Point," "Writing a Paper," "Introducing Quotations," "Documentation," and much more.

About the Author

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson received an M.A. in English from Southern Methodist University and a Ph.D. in English from Emory University. Dr. Johnson is the author of 12 books of fiction, poetry, criticism, and biography, including LAST ENCOUNTER WITH THE ENEMY (Johns Hopkins, 2004), WOMEN I'VE KNOWN: NEW AND SELECTED STORIES (Ontario Review, 2007), the novel STICKY KISSES (Alyson Books, 2001), and several books on Joyce Carol Oates, including INVISIBLE WRITER: A BIOGRAPHY OF JOYCE CAROL OATES (Dutton, 1998) and JOYCE CAROL OATES: CONVERSATIONS 1970–2006 (Ontario Review, 2006). He joined the author team of PERRINE'S LITERATURE in 2002 and has been the sole author since Thomas Arp's passing in 2015.

Thomas R. Arp

Thomas R. Arp received a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan (1954) and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Stanford University. In 1955–1956, he produced educational television for the University of Michigan. He received an M.A. in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1962 -- both from Stanford. He taught at Bowdoin College, Princeton University, University of California at Berkeley, Hull University (England), and Southern Methodist University. Macmillan published his volume THE FORM OF POETRY in 1966, and he received a Fulbright lectureship at University of Bucharest (Romania) in 1969–1970. Arp joined Laurence Perrine in preparing revised editions of SOUND AND SENSE, STORY AND STRUCTURE, and LITERATURE: STRUCTURE, SOUND, AND SENSE beginning in 1982. He became sole author of the books in 1997 and was joined by Greg Johnson in 2002. Dr. Arp passed away in 2015.

Table of Contents

Professional Acknowledgments.
Foreword to Students.
1. What Is Poetry?
2. Reading the Poem.
3. Denotation and Connotation.
4. Imagery.
5. Figurative Language 1: Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Apostrophe, Metonymy.
6. Figurative Language 2: Symbol, Allegory.
7. Figurative Language 3: Paradox, Overstatement, Understatement.
8. Allusion.
9. Meaning and Idea.
10. Tone.
11. Musical Devices.
12. Rhythm and Meter.
13. Sound and Meaning.
14. Pattern.
15. Evaluating Poetry 1: Sentimental, Rhetorical, Didactic Verse.
16. Evaluating Poetry 2: Poetic Excellence.
Glossary and Index of Literary Terms.
Index of Authors, Titles, and First Lines.
Copyrights and Acknowledgments.

New to this edition

  • In addition to the unrivaled coverage of poetry elements that remains a signature of this longtime best seller, the exciting 15th edition adds more than 50 poems from classic and contemporary poets
  • Sylvia Plath is now a Featured Poet and represented by 11 poems -- five of which are brand new to the text.
  • Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck is now included in the "Contemporary Collection" with six of her poems.
  • Part Two, "Writing about Poetry," has been thoroughly revised to conform to the new guidelines of the MLA HANDBOOK, 8E (2016) for in-text citations and Works Cited entries.
  • An all-new INSTRUCTOR'S MANUAL includes new entries on each and every poem added to the 15th edition, such as biographical information, critical analysis, and thorough discussion of the works to be taught.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 1337097624 | ISBN-13: 9781337097628)

This detailed manual provides sample syllabi, course guidelines, in-class exercises, and chapter objectives to assist instructors in teaching the course.