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I AMB a Foot: An Intro to Basic Feet and Meter

Iamb, Trochee, Spondee, Pyrrhic. Do those words have meaning for you? If not, you may find it handy as a poet to learn how to employ at least a few of them. They are names for the most common of the two-syllable feet used in classic poetry forms and many rhymed forms of today (there are other metrical feet used for 3 syllables). Poets can practice to become skilled at any one of them, but often poets are drawn to just a few when they write naturally. Iamb is the one that I prefer. When your words rise and fall in an unstressed to stressed rhythmic pattern, you are using iambic meter. Five feet of these unstressed-stressed syllables is called pentameter. That is why a sonnet is written in Iambic Pentameter. The traditonal sonnet writer uses ten syllables which are divided into five feet of unstressed/stressed syllables. Here is the way Iamb looks if I show just two-syllable examples: de/TEST, un/LOVED, a/ WORD, go/ HOME. It would sound unnatural to say DEtest, UNloved, A word or GO home. The poet chooses his metrical foot and simply goes with the flow! If I choose to write a triolet, I would use Iambic Tetrameter (8 syllables with 4 feet of Iamb). When you consider all the different combinations of feet and meter, there is much to be learned! You can even mix up types of meter or use them unrhymed! To some poets it comes naturally -no textbook required. I have known free verse poets to say, "I just don't 'hear' it." But a few of those poets practiced and practiced; with time I saw them grow! For those who want to practice poetry in such a way to make their poems sing, Iambic meter is one way to go. Unstressed, then stressed creates a pleasant flow. So give your words some musicality. Keep practicing, and then your skills will grow. Aug. 5, 2018

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018




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Date: 8/8/2018 11:24:00 AM
Thanks for the explanation on this it was explained very well. Very informative hopefully you posted it in the blog. It is nice to understand different forms of poetry and some I really struggle with. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to do it. love phyl
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Date: 8/8/2018 7:28:00 AM
Sounds much easier than said, Andrea:)
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Date: 8/7/2018 11:13:00 AM
Thank you so much for sharing. Its really useful for the budding writers like me. I am learning a lot from you. Thanks again for sharing this informative write ,Andrea.
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Date: 8/6/2018 7:04:00 AM
So far , I've done two and it's good to have the right subject matter.
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Date: 8/6/2018 5:43:00 AM
AH, to dance with words.....
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Date: 8/6/2018 3:15:00 AM
Must admit when I joined soup it was like another language to me. Keeping this as a fave so I can improve my poems. Well written Andrea. Tom
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Date: 8/5/2018 6:32:00 PM
Nicely done. Congratulations on your well deserved win, my friend.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 8/5/2018 7:07:00 PM
It's a "virtual" win. I was a bit too late with it.
Date: 8/5/2018 5:22:00 PM
I still struggle with meter for sonnets etc but I am learning!:-) congrats on your win:-) hugs Jan xx
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Date: 8/5/2018 3:54:00 PM
Looks like you already won from the comments below. Spoken like a teacher..you did educate..congrats, Andrea.
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Date: 8/5/2018 2:44:00 PM
Wow, awesome, Andrea. Congrats on your gold medal win - virtual though it is. It certainly does count for me.
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Date: 8/5/2018 2:17:00 PM
I think I write at least six sonnets before I could hear the cadence in my head. It takes practice. You make it sound so easy and clear. What a good teacher you are!
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 8/5/2018 2:33:00 PM
thanks so much. I try to be!!