View Full Version : Meter and Epics

March 16th, 2011, 06:41 PM
I have an urge to write an epic-no matter how crappy it might end up. Doing research online, I stumbled over a conversation on Meter, which has been able to confuse me beyond repair. How do you choose the right meter, do you have to rhyme consistently in an epic, how do you choose a set meter and rhyme scheme?

It's not that I can't write poetry, it's just I didn't know that there was a rule such as this!

March 16th, 2011, 08:40 PM
AaronTP - Poetry begins with rhythm and rhyme. All poetry. In some poetry it's more obvious, in other poetry it's subtle, but the poet must be aware of the rhythm of the language and have a full sense of how the sounds fit together.

The poet must in truth beware
Of sounds that catch him unaware,
And little drumbeats, ticky-tack,
That run the rhythm off the track.

I'm not a poet, but I do spontaneously spin off bits of doggerel like the one above, written on the fly to help you see how rhythm and rhyme are essential elements in turning strings of words into poetry. Master those essentials, then you can go on to shape words to your liking.

Edit - A fuller explanation of what I'm trying to say can be found here (http://www.writingforums.com/structured-verse/115423-poem-true.html).

As for epics, there have been few poems which qualify. One person of note who taught me so much contended that there are only three - The Iliad, The Odyssey, the Aeneid, and he wasn't sure about the Aeneid.

A quick Google search turned up this list of the Top Ten (http://listverse.com/2008/07/06/top-10-greatest-epic-poems/).
According to that site, the all time best epic poems are:
1. Homer - The Iliad
2. Epic of Gilgamesh
3. Homer - The Odyssey
4. Ovid - Metamorphoses
5. Anon. - Beowulf
6. Vyasa - Mahabharata
7. Dante Alighieri - The Divine Comedy
8. John Milton - Paradise Lost
9. Lord Byron - Don Juan
10. Virgil - The Aeneid

On the Internet you can find much material on the elements of poetry. Learning to compose Limericks is one of the best exercises, but be sure you keep with the same pattern Limerick after Limerick
There was an old car in the ditch,
Abandoned by Glory the witch.
She said 'Devil take it'
As she swore to forsake it
And called up her broom with a twitch.