This week: Meter and RhythmEdited by: ember_rain
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Poetry, my first love. I started my writing with poetry and bared my soul to the world with it more than once. I am far from an expert though. I love doing this newsletter because it gives me a chance to explore elements I have long forgotten or just never learned. Every time I come to you with this newsletter, I learn something new. I hope you do to.
For those of you who speak English as a second language you may already understand this quite well. English unlike the "Romantic" languages doesn't have it's own natural rhythm or rhyme. Teaching these things beyond Dr. Seuss is often an English teachers worst nightmare. I was lucky enough to have teachers and a mother who had a love for Iambic Pentameter. We all know that is the preferred writing style of the Bard, Shakespeare. The question is how many of us know what it means? I can honestly say I didn't, despite the years of trying to imitate him, until I was introduce to several people here on WDC that are all to well aware of what these things mean.
Okay so I have to be honest here, it can be hard to understand. This stuff is usually written way over my head and I needed a simpler way of putting it. I am all to well aware that the reason most people write formless poetry these days is because no one really understands how to give form and flow, rhyme and rhythm to a language as complicated and unromantic as English. I am however going to try to give you a heads up so if you aren't using it maybe you can start.
Let's start first with Meter. Meter is the rhythm of the earth, song, poetry, anything that touches the soul through words. Even prose has it's own rhythm we just call it cadence. For poetry we call it Meter and it works to add the missing rhythm. Anyone who has ever studied music will understand this part. Meter is the beats per measure. It's where you hold a note or put a rest. For poetry though it's how you put emphasis on a word. Do you want to say I love or do you want to say I Love? It is based upon which words get emphasized.
Different types of Meter
Iambic- emphasis goes on the second syllable. Example: the BOOK
Trochee- the emphasis goes on the first syllable. Example: THE book
Anapest - the emphasis goes on the third syllable. Example: in the BOOK
Dactyl - this goes on the first syllable of a three syllable set. Example: IN the book
Spondee - this emphasizes both syllables. Example: THE BOOK
Pyrric- is made up of two syllables that are both unstressed. Examples: the book, into,
If you take these different types of Meter and combine them with the different units of rhythm you get something spectacular.
The Units of Rhythm
Monometer - one beat
Dimeter - two beats
Pentameter - five beats
Hexameter- 6 beats also known as Alexandrine
Heptameter 7 beats
Iambic Hexameter would be a six beat line made of of 12 syllables with the emphasis falling on the second fourth and sixth syllable.
It is through this method of finding rhythm that we can turn prose into poetry without the need for rhyme. Though rhyme does often help with emphasizing the correct syllables.
I hope everyone who hasn't explored this option in their poetry will give it a shot. I think you will find that it's easier to find your line and stanza breaks. As well as give a flow to your poetry it might otherwise be missing. Experiment and enjoy! I know I will.
Editors Note: For more info on Meter and Rhythm please see http://www.thepoetsgarret.com/form.html#met. I got much of my info here.
Those that know me know that I am a huge supporter of stopping bulling where it lives. October is National Bullying Prevention Month as well as National Candy Month. In honor of both bullying prevention and Halloween, I give you a mixture of poems. I hope you enjoy and find yourself quite educated. Some of these fit with the poetry forms I mentioned some of them take on other forms. What they do all have in common is rhythm and meter.
I had to include this one it actually uses a form I mentioned
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