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Forums > > Clubs and Cafe's > > The Coffee Shop > > About Meter
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About Meter


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fogglethorpe
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24 12:43:25 EST 2012    Post subject: About Meter Reply with quote

Let's begin with a basic definition of meter (or metre):

The rhythmic arrangement of syllables, by quantity and natural accent, in lines of verse.

This installment will concentrate on the four most common types of meter in modern Western poetry:

Iambic, Trochaic, Dactylic, and Anapestic


Feet

Meter is measured in increments called feet, which are basically phonetic building blocks. In the sample words below, the normal text is unstressed, and the bold text is stressed:

iamb: Two syllables. The first is unstressed, and the second is stressed. Example: connect

trochee: Two syllables. The first is stressed, and the second is unstressed. Example: walking

dactyl: Three syllables. The first is stressed, the second is unstressed, and the third is unstressed. Example: fantasy

anapest: Three syllables. The first is unstressed, the second is unstressed, and the third is stressed. There are very few words in English that are anapest when they stand alone, and even that depends on context. Example: interrupt Usually, a combination of words is more effective. The following example is two anapestic feet: in the blink of an eye


Counting feet in lines of verse

monometer: A line of verse containing one metric foot

dimeter: A line of verse containing two metric feet

trimeter: Three metric feet.

tetrameter: Four metric feet

pentameter: Five metric feet.

and so on..hexameter is six feet, heptameter is seven feet, and octameter is eight.


Metered verse

The opening line of Shakespeare's Sonnet L is an example of iambic pentameter:

How heavy do I journey on the way

It has five iambic feet (ten syllables)..

How heavy do I journey on the way


The example below, from my poem "Philosopher's Stone", is an example of anapestic tetrameter:

and an ugly base metal that longs to be gold

It has four anapestic feet (twelve syllables)..

and an ugly base metal that longs to be gold





If there is a sufficient level of interest, I will make this a series.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24 13:38:56 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

love this. thanks for taking the time to post it, H. i would love to read more...

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24 13:50:45 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Thanks for reading it, and for the positive response. I will most likely add to it.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24 15:46:20 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Yes, by all means - I think there is lots of interest. And thanks for taking the time to do this.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24 19:18:18 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

A useful thread. It would be good to see more poems written in regular meter here. If nothing else it's good self-discipline.

I spent some time trying to think of more English anapests. Out of Anglo-Saxon words I thought of redefine, nondescript, anti-gay, disbelief, undermine and overact. It's interesting that all of them, as well as Foggie's interrupt, begin with prefixes.

Australian Aboriginal languages have given rise to a few anapests like kangaroo and place-names like Bungaree and Orroroo.

It would be interesting to try to write a poem based on anapestic rhymes:

There's many a handsome kangaroo
'Round Bungaree and Orroroo....

but it would take quite a bit of talent to go on like that for any length!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24 23:25:23 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

very useful.
Thanks a lot!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25 1:44:04 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Thanks for all the positive feedback. I will continue the series.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25 3:53:50 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

oh, this is good. sorry for the late response, Hugh.

how is meter different from beat?

and how about when we really discuss with our examples in the comments section? Can a few of the poets comfy with meter help us?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25 3:56:27 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

oh, and I learnt the iamb this way, i am crazy about philosophy so here is what i remember,

i think, therefore, i am, i am, i am.

Hugh, how do we learn which is the stressed syl?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25 11:13:08 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

anna9 wrote:
oh, this is good. sorry for the late response, Hugh.

how is meter different from beat?

and how about when we really discuss with our examples in the comments section? Can a few of the poets comfy with meter help us?

I think of poetry like music. A beat is the pulse, bass or drums. It's the bottom, so to speak. Meter is more like melody than beat..it's the top.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25 11:19:43 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

anna9 wrote:


Hugh, how do we learn which is the stressed syl?

Some syllables have a natural prominence. I usually speak a line of poetry to hear how the syllables fit.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25 21:21:30 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Excellent, thank you Hugh... so glad to find this thread.

And, no kidding; without reading out loud it's just amazing what can be missed!!

Thanks, Mary Ann

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 3:00:40 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

I want more meter, more kilometer, more hectameter, more decameter, and more

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 3:25:41 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

alana wrote:
I want more meter, more kilometer, more hectameter, more decameter, and more

OK, but beware of poems in archaic parkingmeter.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 3:39:47 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Ha-ha-ha... can I please still write po'ems in maryannsameter if I'm not good enough at math??? LOL! Pennies for your thoughts 'n meters.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 13:01:50 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Glad to have found this.
I'm in awe of those of you that write in structured meter and the more difficult forms.
I have lots of studying to do Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 13:02:57 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

*tossing Ozymandias a coin for his parking meter*
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 14:30:17 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

i once prayed to the goddess Demeter for help with a rhyme scheme, but alas she is the goddess of the harvest. all i got was a corny poem...

sorry Hugh, couldn't help myself.

ok no more jokes, back on the metered track people!!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 17:50:25 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

zoe_in_a_bubble wrote:
*tossing Ozymandias a coin for his parking meter*

I should have elaborated on this point. The rhythm of archaic parking meter is tick-tick-tick. In Australian cities the councils employ poets in uniforms who go around leaving little poems in archaic parkingmeter on car windscreens, like:

"Within this space you've overstayed:
A parking fine must now be paid!"

This is not a very popular type of poetic meter, which is no doubt why Foggie and others did not mention it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26 21:48:24 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

I love this and will be keeping an eye on it. thanks

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 9 20:31:50 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

a great piece, Hugh! I think all us free verse bums could use a good reminder of meter and feet.

I'd also like to give special kudos to wordsmithwannabe for his excellent Demeter joke, which no one seems to have commented on.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 9 20:45:19 EST 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

kylebank wrote:
I'd also like to give special kudos to wordsmithwannabe for his excellent Demeter joke, which no one seems to have commented on.

that's because it was a terrible joke!!

but thanks Embarassed

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12 10:54:59 EDT 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Ozymandias wrote:


Australian Aboriginal languages have given rise to a few anapests like kangaroo and place-names like Bungaree and Orroroo.

It would be interesting to try to write a poem based on anapestic rhymes:

There's many a handsome kangaroo
'Round Bungaree and Orroroo....

but it would take quite a bit of talent to go on like that for any length!

Those are distinctive words.

I'd like to note that Dr. Seuss used anapestic meter frequently:

I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny.
But we can have
Lots of good fun that is funny!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12 11:15:51 EDT 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

fogglethorpe wrote:


I'd like to note that Dr. Seuss used anapestic meter frequently:

I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny.
But we can have
Lots of good fun that is funny!

funny that i never connected those dots before...i'm so much more aware of meter and rhyme than i ever was before. you learn something new every day, i suppose!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12 11:42:16 EDT 2012    Post subject: Re: About Meter Reply with quote

Three other types of meter

spondee: Two syllables. Both are stressed. Examples: cupcake, doormat

amphibrach: Three syllables. The first is unstressed, the second is stressed, and the third is unstressed. Examples: abundance, pervasive

pyrrhic: Two syllables. Both are unstressed. Due to the level of difficulty as well as the monotony, very little verse is constructed in this meter (or lack of meter). One of the few examples available is from Lord Byron’s Don Juan..

My way is to begin with the beginning.

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