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Meter?

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Marshalzu
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0 posted 10-15-2002 08:25 AM       View Profile for Marshalzu   Email Marshalzu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marshalzu's Home Page   View IP for Marshalzu

I've recently become interested in meter, mostly by Iambic pentameter but I can't seem to get it. I've read all about feet, stresses and unstressed and even about dah's and DUM's but still I am having trouble figuring out how you come to the conclusion that one word is stressed in one place and unstressed in another?

Are there any rules for Iambic meter or is it just a case of you either hear it or you don't?

Andrew
Local Parasite
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1 posted 10-15-2002 09:37 AM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Oh you KNEW I would jump at this one, Andrew...

The way that you can tell if a syllable is stressed or unstressed is all in the way that the words are said.  Take a simple word like "walking."  Say it out loud to yourself.  You naturally stress the first syllable of it, to say, "WALK-ing."  Now try stressing the last syllable.  "walk-ING."  See how much different it sounds?  Of course the correct pronounciation of the word is the prior.  Syllable stress is all a matter of how a word is properly pronounced.

Well there are many different kinds of meter, but there are a few basic "feet" that are primarily used... like the iamb (iambic), the trochee (trochaic), the anapest (anapestic), the dactyl (dactylic) and, to a lesser extent, the pyrric and the spondee (spondaic).

The common notation for meter is a / symbolizing a stressed syllable, and a flat u-shape that I can't make with my keyboard, symbolizing an unstressed syllable.  I'll just use ~ for an unstressed.

The differences in the feet is the amount of syllables, and which ones are stressed and unstressed.  

There are many different kinds of feet... I've got about twenty listed on my website, but I'm sure there could be more out there... it's all a matter of inventive poetry.  Here are the common examples that I mentioned above:

Iamb:  ~/  (example:  "Create")
Trochee:  /~  (example:  "Harvest")
Dactyl:  /~~  (example:  "Heavenly")
Anapest:  ~~/
Spondee:  //
Pyrric:  ~~

The type of meter refers to the amount of feet used in a line.  ie:  Iambic pentameter, five iambs per line.  Anapestic trimeter, three anapests per line.  Commonly, in many forms of meter, it is necessary to extend or trim some of the feet over the course of a poem.  Take the example from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty:  "All the king's horses and all the king's men."  This is clear dactylic meter, however, the last foot is trimmed down to a single stressed syllable.  This is helpful to the flow of the poem by inciting a pause between lines.

There's a lot about meter to be learned, but most of it comes from use.  Play around with different forms, try some new feet (I find that anapests are a good place to start), and see what you come up with.

If you're still having any confusion as to what constitutes a stressed and unstressed syllable, raise your index finger and follow the syllables up and down as you read it through to yourself.  Try and exaggerate the bounce in your tone and see if it still sounds plausable.

Eventually meter will just become second nature to you and you'll probably rarely write without it.    

Hope that helps.

Parasite


Learn to place poetry before people
Before you place your poetry before the people.
~Andrey Kneller


[This message has been edited by Local Parasite (10-15-2002 09:38 AM).]

Kit McCallum
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2 posted 10-15-2002 10:55 AM       View Profile for Kit McCallum   Email Kit McCallum   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kit McCallum

I was helping a friend with some da Dumís a while back, Andrew Ö and wound up writing the piece I linked for you below. Iím hoping it may be useful, and give you a few variations on feet and meter.

Nan also did a fun poetry workshop in July, and youíll find a lot of additional help there as well if you look through some of the wonderful pieces some of the members were playing with.
http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum22/HTML/000518.html

Hope this helps (and great advice LP).
Marshalzu
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3 posted 10-15-2002 11:55 AM       View Profile for Marshalzu   Email Marshalzu   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marshalzu's Home Page   View IP for Marshalzu

Thanks for that LP, that helped a little, I guess I'm just going to go off and practice.

Oh and thanks for the link Kit, I had already searched pip for some stuff on meter and came across it and it's very helpful, thanks

Andrew
 
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