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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.

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glorybee
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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:21 pm

Nice to hear from you, Laurie! I hope you start writing poetry again.

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Laurie
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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Laurie » Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:20 pm

I came up with two new ones just minutes ago. There was a fly buzzing in here and it was really getting on my nerves. So I killed him!

And much to his surprise,
He met with his demise.

Then another one started buzzing.

If buzzing is a must,
Another one bites the dust.

Seriously, though, I don't know if or when I'll write poetry again. I have some health problems now that make it hard to do much, including concentrate. I'm struggling to finish an ebook right now. But who knows. There may come a day that I'll be back at it.

I struggle with punctuation in poetry. I can't think of an example at the moment, but it seems that when I dig out poems, I often change the punctuation in them. Who knows if I'm making them better or worse. Ha! :lol:

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:08 pm

Laurie wrote:
I struggle with punctuation in poetry. I can't think of an example at the moment, but it seems that when I dig out poems, I often change the punctuation in them. Who knows if I'm making them better or worse. Ha! :lol:


A good starting point for rhymed and metered poetry is to punctuate it as if it were prose. Don't necessarily put punctuation at the end of every line.

Free verse poetry can be punctuated--or not--just about any way you choose.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Laurie » Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:57 pm

That's what I've been doing when I dig out my poems, so I guess I'm on the right track. :) It's hard to explain, but since they aren't complete sentences, sometimes a line can be read either way - alone or with another line. I used to bristle against using a lot of periods in a stanza because I was afraid it would seem choppy and not have the flow I wanted. But I decided I better just stick to the rules. ;)

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby RachelM » Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:10 am

Yay! This looks like so much fun. I'm a little nervous to do the homework, though. It's a bit of a stretch for me. Believe it or not, I didn't even know about stressed and unstressed syllables until I read your lesson!

I wrote some free-verse poetry as a teen and then stopped writing poetry until about two weeks ago. I feel ready to dive in again, so these lessons are perfect for me right now.

I chose your poem "Meditation on Isaiah 35"

her HEART is a DES ert; a SCORCHED, ar id LAND (11)
where SORR ow is CAC tus, and BIT ter ness, SAND. (11)
she SHEL ters the SCOR pions of LONE li ness THERE: (11)
they FLOUR ish, while FEED ing on WASPS of des PAIR. (11)


I'm just itching to write a poem now!
My FaithWriters profile: RachelM FW member profile

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:55 pm

Absolutely correct, Rachel.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby TracePezzali » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:32 am

Hi Jan, I've been doing research on base meter with adherence to this being perfect rhyme (acatalectic) and mixed meter which allows for a certain freedom with adding or removing unstressed syllables (as meter is essentially based on stressed syllables). My question is whether variance allows for two stressed syllables being next to each other (eg alliteration where first word is one syllable stressed, the second word first syllable stressed...). Not sure if I've made sense, but hopefully you can answer anyway :? Thanks
Trace Pezzali

"It is written: 'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak... so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Cor 4:13-15

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:49 am

TracePezzali wrote:Hi Jan, I've been doing research on base meter with adherence to this being perfect rhyme (acatalectic) and mixed meter which allows for a certain freedom with adding or removing unstressed syllables (as meter is essentially based on stressed syllables). My question is whether variance allows for two stressed syllables being next to each other (eg alliteration where first word is one syllable stressed, the second word first syllable stressed...). Not sure if I've made sense, but hopefully you can answer anyway :? Thanks


Trace, I'm pretty sure I understand your questions, and I'm going to give it a tentative "yes, that's okay"--but I'd like to see an example, just to be sure.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Sibermom65 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:24 pm

I chose a poem I recently posted in the articles - poems section "The Badlands of My Soul". After looking at my screwed up meter, I saw so many flaws I didn't have the heart to continue with looking at the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables! I can see I need to take this poem out and rework it, keeping meter in mind to see if I can't make it work better.
Good lesson!

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:03 pm

Sibermom, that's totally your call, of course--but if you'd like to post a link, or even just one or two verses of it, I'd be happy to give you a few suggestions. I suspect it's not as bad as you think.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Sibermom65 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:21 pm

My poem is posted in the poet's corner viewtopic.php?f=19&t=38846

I really don't consider myself a poet, and it's hardly my genre of writing, but I do occasionally play around with it and my natural pride wants to do the job right when I do try to create a poem. I dug this out for the homework, now I find I need to work on a re-write to see if I can do a better job. I took a copy with me to the doctor's office this morning to work on while I waited - I can see I have a lot of work to do!

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:27 pm

Sibermom, I'm glad you posted a link.

I don't think you need to work on meter for this poem at all. It's a free verse poem, and those do not have to have any sort of regular metrical pattern. I'm sorry if my lesson misled you about that.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Sibermom65 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:49 pm

I suppose it is free verse, but when I look at it with meter in mind it seems like it could flow better if I used meter more effectively - perhaps just with a much looser format than a structured piece. I'll have to play around with it and see what works.

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby glorybee » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:52 pm

Make sure you let me know, once you've re-done it. I'll be curious how the second version of it compares to the first.

Are you planning to introduce rhyme into the mix, too?

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Re: Be a Better Writer--MASTERING METER

Postby Rivermusic » Sat May 14, 2016 12:14 am

Hello, glorybee. I know that this an old lesson, but it's invaluable for me and I'm learning a lot. Thank you for explaining and teaching so well how poetry and meter works.
I've read almost all the posts, questions, and answers in this forum/topic on Mastering Meter and I was hoping that maybe I could ask you a few questions as well? :) I don't know if that's possible since these posts on this topic are from two years ago and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to just join in on the conversational flow. If not, I'm sorry for the intrusion. :|
My question: what is the determining (or definitive) factor in distinguishing between stressed and unstressed syllables? Is there really a set rule? I know how they're pronounced is key and it really helped to say the words slowly like you said. I was able to find most of the stressed syllables in your example of 'Amazing Grace.' What puzzled me was the words 'can' and 'was.' These sounded like they should be stressed as well, lol :? . How are these unstressed and yet 'ONCE' is? Is whether a syllable is stressed or unstressed more about its placement in the poem? Does personal preference have anything to do with it?
You recommended using a Dictionary. I've looked at many, but most of them don't have a accent symbol for stressed syllables in words like 'once, saved, now, me etc.' For the most part, I can tell when a syllable is stressed, but I don't always get it right with every word in every poem. :lol:
I was hoping to tighten my listening abilities or knowledge on more ways to pinpoint stressed and unstressed syllables. Thank you for the great lessons and teachings! :) I hope you can reply.
"None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."
Romans 8:37-39 (MSG) :superhappy

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