Is there any tip for learning meter

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Thread: Is there any tip for learning meter

  1. #1
    Member Lamperoux's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    NYC, but from September to May I'm in Paris, France

    Is there any tip for learning meter

    just asking if there's any tip, trick, or lesson into learning meter. i know it's not magic, but if there's something someone knows that could help, it would be very well appreciated.
    The future is no more uncertain than the present.
    --Walt Whitman

  2. #2
    Well, here's a link to some of the basics, though I imagine you probably get it all in theory: Rhythm and Meter in English Poetry.

    I tend to find saying different meters in my head, eg. "de DUM de DUM de DUM de DUM de DUM" (iambic pentameter) helps before I start trying to slot the words in. Make sure when you do start to slot the words in, though, that you're using the natural stresses of the word, and not trying to force them to fit the meter. eg. if you're using the word "darken," the natural stresses we use in every day language, DARK/en, should be adhered to. It shouldn't be made to read dark/EN to fit the meter.

    The best thing you can do though, probably, is to read lots of metric poetry, especially contemporary stuff (if you want to start writing it yourself) to give you a feel for how it's done. Then start practising a lot, until you can write it fairly naturally. Good luck!


  3. #3
    Lamperoux - My grandfather taught me to compose out loud extemporaneously, then he would point out where my meter was faulty. A big help was composing Limericks on the fly, usually at the dinner table. My grandfather had a strict formula for Limericks: three beats, eight syllables for the first, second, and fifth lines, and two beats, six syllables for lines three and four. It goes this way:
    The first, second, and fifth lines must rhyme, the third and fourth lines must rhyme, all rhymes must be full rhymes, and the rhythm and syllable count must be exact. My grandfather claimed this was the ancient formula for the Limerick.

    The Limerick is thought by many to be a rather cheap kid of poetry, but the rapid composition of Limericks will force you to pay attention to the rhythm patterns in your speech. The Limerick is a great tool for disciplining both rhythm and rhyme. You can deliberately shift the pattern and hear the different effects that can be created.

    I was taught always to compose poetry out loud before writing anything down, listening carefully to rhythm and, where used, rhyme. It also helps to read poetry aloud whenever possible.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  4. #4
    I like that tip garza. Rapid composition + speaking aloud. Will give it a try! Maybe when there's no one in the room at first...

  5. #5
    Ah, be brave. We had to do it at the dinner table. You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll learn to trim your ordinary speech into something poetic.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.


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