To view this notification widget you need to have JavaScript enabled. This notification widget was easily created with NotifySnack.
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Forums Join Login
My Account
Shop
Save
Support
E
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  




The HOME for Christian writers!
The Home for Christian Writers!

Forums

This area is only a small portion of FaithWriters. The main site can be joined HERE.
Shop & Save to SUPPORT FaithWriters.
Upgrade to SUPPORT FaithWriters.

Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

User avatar
Shann
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 5742
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:35 pm
Location: Western NY super rural

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Shann » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:20 pm

I agree with that Jan. I've written silly poems and sad ones and looking at them now it might be the meter that set that tone, but I didn't realize that's what I was doing, so I bet someone who hears it naturally might be able to do just that. I know I've read my poems aloud before and it can come across differently if someone else reads it. I'm searching for the one I'm thinking of and will try to post it here.

Thanks this is helpful. :D
Shann

Shann's Profile

Sometimes God calms the storm; Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child

User avatar
Cinnamon Bear
Pencil 6 (300-499 Posts)
Pencil 6 (300-499 Posts)
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:35 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Cinnamon Bear » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:39 pm

glorybee wrote:
I'll have to give this more thought, but I'll bet that the really accomplished poets choose a specific meter to reflect specific moods. I'd love to hear from someone who has done that (oh, Kenn Allan, where are you?), and to know what their process is for selecting the right meter for the poem.

Is there anyone who can chime in on this?


I'm no Kenn Allan, but I'll give this one a try.

Just looking over my own poems, I used 8, 8, 8, 8, for serious---not necessarily sad---poems. For example, my previously mentioned "I Am a Tree and My Friend Is the Bark".


Very short lines---no more than five or six syllables---and each line rhyming with the other three lines---seems to give an impression of joy and gaiety. For example, my poem "Let's Google":

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=48258

I was able to get away with altering the meter in places, probably because it is a lighthearted poem.


I think limericks are good for humorous topics. For example, my poem "Kitty Kareers":

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=47733

I used the typical limerick meter (9, 9, 6, 6, 9). I also took a risk in this poem and altered the meter for two of the stanzas. In stanza #4, Mr. Kitty switches to a singsong voice as he reads the cat want ads. In stanza #12, he switches to a dance rhythm as he gets carried away with the ladies. :)

I find it very helpful to find the right music for the mood I want to create and then keep playing it, while I construct my poem.

Cinnamon Bear

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:46 pm

Thanks, Cinnamon Bear!
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
Allison
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 3720
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:45 am
Location: St. Peters, MO

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Allison » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:49 pm

I never thought I was any good at poetry, until I started writing poetry more frequently for the challenge and I started getting ECs on my poetry. That's something I NEVER would have expected.

I've found I do much better with free verse. I actually find that kind of interesting, because I'm a musical person, and you'd think that metered poetry would come naturally. And in a way it does, I guess, as I can here when the meter is off in my own poetry, but I have trouble fixing it.

Here's one of my few metered and rhymed poems.

http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article- ... p?id=27006

I have a few hiccups, in this stanza, especially. How it should work, with the rest of the poem:

Those 'BOTS were reBELLious, deMANding high WAges!
The LAbor groups QUICKly igNITing some RAGes.
"Health CARE," they inSISted, "Our WEE 'bots are GROWing,
"And MONey for COLlege, we DON'T want them OWing."

But the third line would naturally be read like this:

"HEALTH care," they inSISted, "Our wee 'BOTS are GROWing, (though I think "wee" or "'bots" could be stressed, personally.


Also, I LOVE playing around with the "metered index of hymns" in the back of one of the hymnals we have. (We have many.) If I read a poem that "feels" like it could be a song, I've been known to look up the meter in the back of the hymn book to see if it fits with the melody of any hymns.
Image
Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:55 pm

Allison wrote:I have a few hiccups, in this stanza, especially. How it should work, with the rest of the poem:

Those 'BOTS were reBELLious, deMANding high WAges!
The LAbor groups QUICKly igNITing some RAGes.
"Health CARE," they inSISted, "Our WEE 'bots are GROWing,
"And MONey for COLlege, we DON'T want them OWing."

But the third line would naturally be read like this:

"HEALTH care," they inSISted, "Our wee 'BOTS are GROWing, (though I think "wee" or "'bots" could be stressed, personally.


I agree that either word could be emphasized. That's often the case, I think, when there are a few one-syllable words in a row.


Allison wrote:Also, I LOVE playing around with the "metered index of hymns" in the back of one of the hymnals we have. (We have many.) If I read a poem that "feels" like it could be a song, I've been known to look up the meter in the back of the hymn book to see if it fits with the melody of any hymns.


Excellent! I've done that, too. It's a great way to find an interesting meter. Can I sing this poem to this tune? Then the meter's probably right.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:26 pm

poeticgent, I've been thinking all day about your post, and I think I have another example that might--I hope--get you to re-think your use of meter in your poetry.

If I had given a lesson about writing effective prose, I'd be very startled if someone were to write, "I don't worry about spelling when I write. The message is the important thing, and I try to get punctuation right, but I've never learned how to use spelling. I'd rather just get my message out."

I hope that sounds absurd to you--because of course, spelling is important, and a great message will be lost if the poor or inconsistent spelling becomes a distraction to the readers. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and several other writing tools all work together to produce a device that will convey the writer's message.

It's the same thing with poetry (I'm referring to traditional poetry here, not free verse). There are several poetry tools that all work together to make a good poem: rhyme, meter, word choice...and many others. To really do a great job of conveying the message, a poet should use all of the tools at his disposal--and he should learn to use them well.

Since you contributed to this thread very quickly after it was posted, it's clear that poetry is very important to you. I'd like to offer you a free private lesson--send me one of your poems (maybe one that is 20 lines or less) either here (if you want a public critique) or as a Private Message (just click the little box that says 'PM' under the picture of my cat and the green pencil on this post.

Glad that you stopped by, and I hope we can continue this dialogue.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
itsjoanne
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 10149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:52 am
Location: West Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby itsjoanne » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:17 pm

Hey there, Shann- I MAY have an idea to help you with stressed and unstressed syllables that I learned (I think LOL) when I was participating in Rhyming Picture Book Month in April. (May have actually learned it somewhere else - but pretty sure that was it) Try putting your hand against your neck (like you're going to choke yourself - but don't squeeze LOL). You should be able to feel a bit of a vibration when you say a stressed syllable as opposed to an unstressed one.

AND - regarding using meter to match the tone of your piece, I read in "Writing Picture Books" by Ann Whitford Paul (SUPER book if you're interested in writing them - probably the best craft book for that genre) that, in general, when the meter is falling (i.e. a stress followed by unstressed), the poem tends to be more serious, while when the meter is rising (i.e. ending in a stressed syllable) the poem tends to be more lighthearted/funny, etc.

For example, the standard meter for a limerick, for the most part, is two unstressed followed by one stressed syllable (called an anapest if you like vocabulary LOL) - which is a rising meter and thus light/funny, etc. I'm not thinking of any familiar poems with a downbeat, but I KNOW there are some. LOL

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:28 pm

itsjoanne wrote:AND - regarding using meter to match the tone of your piece, I read in "Writing Picture Books" by Ann Whitford Paul (SUPER book if you're interested in writing them - probably the best craft book for that genre) that, in general, when the meter is falling (i.e. a stress followed by unstressed), the poem tends to be more serious, while when the meter is rising (i.e. ending in a stressed syllable) the poem tends to be more lighthearted/funny, etc.

For example, the standard meter for a limerick, for the most part, is two unstressed followed by one stressed syllable (called an anapest if you like vocabulary LOL) - which is a rising meter and thus light/funny, etc. I'm not thinking of any familiar poems with a downbeat, but I KNOW there are some. LOL


Thanks, Joanne--this is very fascinating!
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
KennAllan
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 1185
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:20 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby KennAllan » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:39 pm

Somebody call me?

First off, I'd like to compliment Jan on her lesson; I've explained meter on occasion but never with such skill and eloquence. You are indeed a gifted teacher.

Actually, Cinnamon Bear apparently uses the same general system as I do. When first planning a poem, I consider the mood I wish to convey. I have many favorite patterns and one usually jumps up and shouts, "Pick Me!" For example, I just finished a humerous story poem which used the 3/4 waltz - or Dr. Seuss - tempo:

On a lake 'way up north lived a goose known as Xander
Who, by all accounts, was a bird worth a gander
With graceful black neck and brown body preceding,
Each pinfeather honed by Canadian breeding.


And, as Cinnamon Bear pointed out, a stanza consisting of 8-syllable lines tends to deliver a more somber tone:

The sunrise spills a copper glow
Upon the frosty earth below,
Illuminating wisps of white
That fill the hollows overnight
And wander free with gentle flow
Until persuaded by the light.


Yet at the moment I'm writing one using the good ol' 8-6-8-6 style. BTW, sometimes it's fun to rhyme the eights AND the sixes, not just the sixes.

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:12 pm

Thanks, Kenn!

I hope you'll come back next week when I write about rhyme. You're by far a better poet than I, and certainly one of the best ever here on FaithWriters.

And Jim McWhinnie, when I cover free verse, I sure hope to hear from you.

There are other very gifted poets on this site (I remember Henry Clemmons from a long time ago, but haven't heard from him in a long time), Linda Watson Owen, Leigh McKelvey, Beth LaBuff--but most of those people aren't writing here any more.

If there are others here, more active and gifted at poetry, and if any of you know them, please send them this way in the next few weeks!
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
Come forth
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:34 pm
Location: Innisfail, North Qld, Australia

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Come forth » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:26 pm

Hi Jan, first let me apologize for missing so many lessons. My wife and I have had a lot of health issues lately and some things have just had to take a lesser role; sadly, that included my focus on learning.

I understand what poeticgent is saying, because it was my attitude too for a long while. I loved writing poetry, especially story poems with a Christian message. But I also suffered from Shann's problem -- I'm about as musical as a cacophony of baying mules, so I found it impossible to count syllables or understand the stress in syllables. :lol:

What I found myself doing was repeating the poem until I was comfortable with it and then convinced my self it was okay. But feedback convinced me that things could be better.

I still believe that poetry is personal and in many ways poeticgent's thoughts have value; but there is even more value in learning how to do it right and increasing the size of your audience -- because it flows better more people will read it to the end (which surely is the whole purpose of being a writer). And, again because of working on the meter, you actually, dramatically, increase the power of the message.

I still can't count syllables well; but I've found a great site for doing that: http://www.poetrysoup.com/haiku_syllable_counter/ Now I'm able to check my syllable count with accuracy and, a bonus, as I do I'm getting better at it all the time.

So now my focus needs to be on learning about stressed and unstressed syllables; which is really stressful. :?

I'll be back to do my homework a little later today.

I've always loved your lessons, Jan. And I thank you for taking the time to help me grow.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

User avatar
swfdoc1
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 866
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:31 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby swfdoc1 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:44 pm

Great stuff Jan and everyone!

I had a busy yesterday and today, and am exhausted, so all I can do is link to an old thread, with a quick explanation. But will try to do homework as able.

Here’s the old thread.

I know you said master meter first and then deal with exceptions. And you are exactly right from a teaching point of view. You have to master meter before you can master exceptions that work well. The reason I introduce this old thread is two-fold: 1) it actually supports the sequence of mastery just discussed (although it keys in on step three), and 2) it adds an additional wrinkle to your question about which meters are better for various moods. Mood can be reflected not just by various (base) meters, but also by the deviations from those meters. I won’t pursue this point any further because it would take the lesson in the wrong direction—emphasizing exceptions, but perhaps folks can just tuck that idea away for later.
Steve
nlf.net
________
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:03 am

Thanks for the link, Steve.

I really admire people for whom poetry comes easily and beautifully. The more I study it, the more it seems to me that poetry is several notches above prose in difficulty of doing it well. Well, for me, anyway.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
Come forth
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:34 pm
Location: Innisfail, North Qld, Australia

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Come forth » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:34 pm

Part one of the home work is,

Your poem has a rhythm of 10, 10, 10, 11

And the stress is:

I DIG for REFuge FROM the BLAZing sun.
BeNEATH this DESert bush, COOL is the loam;
ProTECted AREmy KITS when DAY] is done,
Here THEY are NURTured, in THIS earthy home

Not sure on the above, I found I could stress it almost any way I wished. :lol:

Part two: Clancy Of The Overflow by Banjo Paterson

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just `on spec', addressed as follows, `Clancy, of The Overflow'.

The meter is 16, 15, 16, 15

The stress seems to be:

I HAD written him a LETter which I HAD, for WANT of better
KnowLEDGE, sent to where I MET him down the LACHlan, years ago,
He WAS shearing when I KNEW him, so I sent the LETter to him,
Just `on SPEC, addressed as FOLLows, `CLANCY, of The OVERflow'.

Again, just tried my best but struggling here.

part three: part of a stanza from 'Get Back Up And Soldier On' -- this weeks Challenge entry

Soldier on Soldier on
When all your strength is gone
You know Who to rely on
Get back up and soldier on

the meter is 6,6,7,7

The stress (that I see is)

SOLdier on SOLdier on
WHEN all your STRENGTH is gone
YOU know WHO to rely on
GET back UP and SOLdier on

comment: the hard work for me is obviously in understanding stress v unstressed syllables and I'm going to have to do a lot of reading on this issue. And my stress in the verse above seems okay to me -- even though the last line has one more stressed syllable than the other three lines.

thanks again for a great lesson.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6107
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:50 pm

Come forth wrote:Part one of the home work is,

Your poem has a rhythm of 10, 10, 10, 11

And the stress is:

I dig for refuge from the blazing sun.
Beneath this desert bush, cool is the loam;
Protected are my kits when day is done,
Here they are nurtured, in this earthy home

Not sure on the above, I found I could stress it almost any way I wished.


I'm sure that part of the perception of stressed and unstressed syllables has to do with one's accent; since you're from Australia, you may stress different words than a US speaker would.

This particular poem was a sonnet, written in one of the more common sonnet meters: 10-syllables per line, with alternating unstressed and stressed syllables. I'm not sure where you pronounce an 11th syllable in that last line, but it's certainly an Aussie thing, I'll bet. And I'd put the stresses in slightly different places, but that doesn't mean that you're wrong. Just different.

Come forth wrote:Part two: Clancy Of The Overflow by Banjo Paterson

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just `on spec', addressed as follows, `Clancy, of The Overflow'.

The meter is 16, 15, 16, 15

The stress seems to be:

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just `on spec', addressed as follows, `Clancy, of The Overflow'.

Again, just tried my best but struggling here.


What a delightful poem!

I count the syllables the same as you did on this one. The prevailing pattern seems to be a stressed syllable followed by three unstressed ones, with some remainders at the beginning and the end of each line.

Come forth wrote:part three: part of a stanza from 'Get Back Up And Soldier On' -- this weeks Challenge entry

Soldier on Soldier on
When all your strength is gone
You know Who to rely on
Get back up and soldier on

the meter is 6,6,7,7

The stress (that I see is)

Soldier on Soldier on
When all your strength is gone
You know Who to rely on
Get back up and soldier on

comment: the hard work for me is obviously in understanding stress v unstressed syllables and I'm going to have to do a lot of reading on this issue. And my stress in the verse above seems okay to me -- even though the last line has one more stressed syllable than the other three lines.

thanks again for a great lesson.

Blessings, Graham.


If I were reading this out loud, I'd say it this way:

sol dier ON sol dier ON
when ALL your strength is GONE
you KNOW who to re LY on
get back UP and sol dier ON

And although this verse doesn't have a consistent meter, it feels rhythmic and musical to me--I'm sure it would work quite well as a song, where the "missing" syllables would become either rests or longer notes. It just didn't stumble like some poetry does--so...well done!
Jan Ackerson

PreviousNext

Return to Jan's Writing Basics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


© MeasurelessMedia. All rights reservedTerms of Service



Jesus - True for You But not for Me      Website Builder     Build Website     Is Jesus God?    
Does God exist?     Build a writers website     Does truth exist?     Website online in minutes