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Today I’d like to talk to you about how meter plays a part in
how we write a poem and sometimes in how we speak
The above lines, which are not at all poetic, are written in a specific
rhythm, or meter. Go back and read them again. You’ll pick up on
the rhythm: da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, etc. (unaccented syllable,
accented syllable, etc.)
The meter most commonly employed in poetry is iambic pentameter:
An iamb consists of an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable.
“Penta” means five. Therefore, five iambs create the meter called
iambic pentameter. Now, we’ll look at the top two lines again, this
time dividing the words into three lines: 1. Today I’d like to talk to you
about 2. how meter plays a part in how we write 3. a poem and some-
times in how we speak. This plain, literal language is written in the
rhythm used in many poems—iambic pentameter.
Literary examples, followed by everyday language, all in iambic pentameter:
“That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall.” (Robert Browning)
My rubber ball went bouncing down the hall! (Yours truly)
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” (THE Bard)
Let’s stop and buy some gum along the way. (Yours truly)
Ask me for trochees, dactyls, anapests,
and spondees. All will take me quite a while.
Request tetrameter and trimeter.
Will do! But none of these will make me smile
like writing five neat iambs in each line.
I most enjoy this well-established style.
August 1, 2018
Contest Title: Reads Like Music--Haibun-Look poetry contest
Sponsor: Line Gauthier
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