I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

10 August 2013

Observing Line and Metre (Non-Diverse)

After a discourse on line and metre, Gay at dVerse Form For All — Prosody invites us to take a few lines of our own free verse and rewrite them in iambic feet of any line length — noting that unrhymed iambic pentameter is called blank verse. (I admit, she said we could include a few anapests.) Well, I tried. I thought it might fix some languishing draft that wasn't working yet, but it did not improve any of them! Instead, a new piece:

Iambic feet and pentametric lines
will make my verses blank; is that not so?
Well, blank means only that they are unrhymed
(and following that metre, as I’ve said)
but many poems gallop to this beat
and solemn topics rollick jollily
in inappropriate cheerfulness of pace.
There’s more to poetry than may be found
in repetitions of de-DA-de-DA,
in lines of even length, in perfect count
of syllables in alternating stress.
I like a sonnet, but a haiku too
is poetry I think — indeed, insist!
And as for this, my friends, it’s doggerel
(also a piece of fun to start my day).


PS When it comes to metre, this is my favourite reminder:

Remember this verse:

Iambic feet are firm and flat                                                             - / - /
and come down heavily like that

Trochees dancing very lightly                                                        / - / -
Sparkle, froth and bubble brightly.

Dactylic daintiness lilting so prettily                                               / - - / - -
Moves about fluttering rather than wittily

While for speed and for haste such a rhythm is best                    - - / - - /
As we find in the race of the quick Anapest.

(Source unknown)

24 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this, Rosemary. Really I am a believer in different strokes for different folks; and also a believer in different strokes at different times. I enjoyed the challenge to prove to myself I could accomplish it. And perhaps so did you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did enjoy this bit of nonsense, yes. I have taught poetry writing at tertiary level, so I am acquainted with the basics of prosody, but seldom use those metres any more myself.

      I did also have a serious point to make. I see too many poems where the metre is used in a way that doesn't serve the subject matter.

      Delete
    2. So true, Rosemary. It really cannot appear to be FORCED and be 'good' poetry!

      Delete
  2. Fun, fun, fun! And that second reminder is good too. But I think many of us just "feel" it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. One of the best poets I know has never learned this stuff, but her 'ear' for free verse is excellent.

      Delete
  3. Love this and you were the only example of unrhymed verse which I really appreciate. Again thank you for the sentiment held in this poem, and for sharing the verse to help understand meter. This was very generous of you and I appreciate it, and I'm sure Sam Peralta would echo that appreciation (and were he still around, Luke Prater too! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank YOU for giving me the pleasure that I had in writing this.:)

      Delete
  4. I enjoyed this, Rosemary. I insisted mine was doggerel, too, but maybe it is not when it trips so daintily off the tongue. I actually find English falls into iambs naturally--but there is an extra bounce that mocks seriousness. ("Ear for free verse"--haha!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, iambic is the natural metre of English.

      Well, maybe 'instinct for free verse' is more accurate, lol.

      Delete
    2. Maybe, but not as enjoyable ... Thanks for visiting my poem too.

      Delete
  5. I love this tongue in cheek offering, Rosemary, and the metre is right on the money. My brain glazes over at the names of the various "types". I dont know a trochee from an anapest. I have to set the rhythm in my head and go from there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The names are only labels. It's the rhythm that counts! Still, it's nice to know what effects you can achieve with different tools.

      Delete
  6. Rosemary,love these doggerel...Thanks. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rosemary, what a neat reminder about what's what. But your poem, such fun! Taking the forms, using them while slightly belittling the process... I'm not good at forms, but I took a chance today and I couldn't believe it.

    You are a masterful poet, and this is one fine example of that. Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, Amy, thank you for the high praise! I think of myself as a free verse poet, but I love to play with form now and then - it makes a change. Also I think I learn things which then, hopefully, improve my free verse.

      Delete
  8. Very much enjoyed...a fun look at poetry of all forms. I must admit I like to feel it too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "rollick jollily"--great pairing of words. And enjoyed your take on the various forms. Fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm SO glad someone finally commented on that. I thought it was going unnoticed, and it was one of the most fun bits to write. Thank you.

      Not MY take on the metres - just something I'm sharing.

      Delete
  10. ha. thanks for the explanation in verse...i just could not get it together in time...i struggle with forced rhythms...i just let my poetry be...smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian, your poetry is amazing! Letting it be obviously works for you, so I wouldn't worry about making any drastic changes. Smiles back.

      Delete
  11. I think most poets agree! But oh, the battles that were fought in the early days of free verse. One group of editors would publish an anthology containing only formal verse, as if to say, "This, and only this, is poetry." Then another group of editors would publish a volume of free verse, as if to say, "Get with the times!" Anyway, very funny take on the prompt, and I would say that doggerel is poetry too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nico, good point! Some doggerel is truly wonderful. :)

      Delete