Old 07-06-2013, 01:43 PM   #1
twelveoone
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rant, rant, etc. etc

This research is an instrumental investigation of a theory of rhythmical performance of poetry, originally propounded speculatively, in my Perception-Oriented Theory of Metre (1977). "Iambic pentameter" means that there is a verse unit consisting of an unstressed and a stressed syllable (in this order), and that the verse line consists of five such units. In the first 165 verse lines of Paradise Lost, there are two such lines.

from
https://www2.bc.edu/~richarad/lcb/wip/rt.html


did we catch that ratio?
2 out of 165
granted one reading thereoff, thus my point about variability of imposition of metre
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelveoone View Post
This research is an instrumental investigation of a theory of rhythmical performance of poetry, originally propounded speculatively, in my Perception-Oriented Theory of Metre (1977). "Iambic pentameter" means that there is a verse unit consisting of an unstressed and a stressed syllable (in this order), and that the verse line consists of five such units. In the first 165 verse lines of Paradise Lost, there are two such lines.

from
https://www2.bc.edu/~richarad/lcb/wip/rt.html


did we catch that ratio?
2 out of 165
granted one reading thereoff, thus my point about variability of imposition of metre
So is your point that it doesn't reflect speech?
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Old 07-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
So is your point that it doesn't reflect speech?
no, point here is what is claimed to be "Iambic pentameter" isn't, nor intended to be when written

no I'm more amazed at people expressing surprise at the fact that people can't hear meter
the reason they can't hear meter, is because it is not there, it has to be assigned, both in the writing and the reading.
Let's assume Milton was writing in Blank Verse and allow for the 30% substitution which may be a standard of sorts
then the two 2 out of 165 ratio seems a little low doesn't it? Not quite 70% is it?
So what exactly was Milton trying to do, and what exactly did he write?

There seems to be little agreement on just what is metre, what exactly is stress and what is the relationship between rhythm and metre. (Delve a little deeper, it is there - on the Internet)

So expecting a newb to conform to a pattern that for a good percentage isn't there strikes me as a bit absurd.

Now does this strike you as a rant? Heresy perhaps, in some quarters.
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by twelveoone View Post
no, point here is what is claimed to be "Iambic pentameter" isn't, nor intended to be when written

no I'm more amazed at people expressing surprise at the fact that people can't hear meter
the reason they can't hear meter, is because it is not there, it has to be assigned, both in the writing and the reading.
Let's assume Milton was writing in Blank Verse and allow for the 30% substitution which may be a standard of sorts
then the two 2 out of 165 ratio seems a little low doesn't it? Not quite 70% is it?
So what exactly was Milton trying to do, and what exactly did he write?

There seems to be little agreement on just what is metre, what exactly is stress and what is the relationship between rhythm and metre. (Delve a little deeper, it is there - on the Internet)

So expecting a newb to conform to a pattern that for a good percentage isn't there strikes me as a bit absurd.

Now does this strike you as a rant? Heresy perhaps, in some quarters.
Actually no it doesn't strike me as a rant.

So was Shakespeare an anomaly? He seemed to love the ten-syllable unstressed/stressed line. I mean you know me, I don't care about "metric rules," whether they were important at some point in the language's history or not. To me the most exciting thing about a sonnet is not the meter but the ways it has been stretched and adapted over the years. Some, as you know, pretty original approaches but still identified as a sonnet.

I think forms are good practice for newbs because having to adhere to any kind of structure tends to make you think more about how you are constructing this thing you call a poem. And once you do that you start to see how breaking lines, etc., effects the quality of what you write. Does everyone who is new and tries form grow in that way? No. There are some people who will get stuck on form X and repeat it and think how clever I can write sonnets, and it's the end of the poem road for them. But overall I think it's a good practice, maybe not for a first start but once you decide you want to pursue writing more, yes.

I know we agree on the reading and getting feedback thing, so what else would you recommend for someone new? I think we start to learn by imitating. Maybe there's a better way?

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Old 07-06-2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
Actually no it doesn't strike me as a rant.

So was Shakespeare an anomaly? He seemed to love the ten-syllable unstressed/stressed line. I mean you know me, I don't care about "metric rules," whether they were important at some point in the language's history or not. To me the most exciting thing about a sonnet is not the meter but the ways it has been stretched and adapted over the years. Some, as you know, pretty original approaches but still identified as a sonnet.

I think forms are good practice for newbs because having to adhere to any kind of structure tends to make you think more about how you are constructing this thing you call a poem. And once you do that you start to see how breaking lines, etc., effects the quality of what you write. Does everyone who is new and tries form grow in that way? No. There are some people who will get stuck on form X and repeat it and think how clever I can write sonnets, and it's the end of the poem road for them. But overall I think it's a good practice, maybe not for a first start but once you decide you want to pursue writing more, yes.

I know we agree on the reading and getting feedback thing, so what else would you recommend for someone new? I think we start to learn by imitating. Maybe there's a better way?

I think all the "better" (take that anyway you like) writers agree, the only way to write poetry is to read it, going further, read about it.

Yes we do learn by imitating, theo posted a bunch of links for poetry readings, problem is most of it is boring and this is compounded by the fact that the listener does not know what to listen for, you either need a mentor, or you better start parsing like hell, and then learn how to reassemble the component parts.

Listen carefully to what is around you. Aye, there's the rub, most of it is arhythmic, it is the mind that begins to assign patterns over it. Transpose to the written word. Poetry is the sound of thought.

So was Shakespeare an anomaly?
Much more so than most people think. Think about when he wrote, what canons where there, how codified was the system back then? To a certain extent he was winging it (and stealing heavily). His sonnets contain a certain amount of experimentation. He settled on a certain style, because he was a very effective writer. His sonnets are measured, reasoned arguments, almost legalistic, that is exactly the kind of rhythm called for, so he generated it. His plays, he has to do it with actors and memorization. There are two ways to do this, either end rhyme or some form of counting, on off five times, particularity for the dead parts. Notice not much enjambment. Eliot may have parodied this in the Wasteland. Not much reason for the old tricks with the advent of the press, except for one thing, and I pointed this out years ago, the aspect ratio for the sonnet is pretty much the same as the standard printed page, thus it looks good!

There is nothing holy or even particularly poetic about either the form of poem or the metric line, they are surface structures.

Having said this, I agree with you to the extent that if they pay attention to how they break the lines and how small changes will affect the quality of their writing they will learn. However if they pay attention they will also see it is a pain in the ass to conform to a surface structure unless there is a real reason for it.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:30 PM   #6
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Since apparently it upset you, I apologize for the use of the word rant, though "to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner," and especially, "to scold vehemently" seem to me to be appropriate descriptions of your comments on scansion. Would "1201 in his vehement antipathy toward scansion..." be more acceptable? I was not then trying to be obnoxious and I'm sorry if it came across that way.

As I indicated, I agreed that scansion (as usually taught, with its binary interpretation of syllabic stress) is inadequate to accurately map the poetic line. I think it still has value, though, unless you think iambic pentameter simply doesn't exist, which would place you counter to a hell of a lot of received understanding about poetry.

And I think your source is a bit suspect: "'Iambic pentameter' means that there is a verse unit consisting of an unstressed and a stressed syllable (in this order), and that the verse line consists of five such units. In the first 165 verse lines of Paradise Lost, there are two such lines." Is this your assessment as well?

I presume you've read Paradise Lost. Did you not have any sense of metrical uniformity in reading it? I haven't read it (full disclosure), but I've read the first section of it and it seems quite iambic and pentametrical to me:
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
That's the first five lines. I read all of them as iambic pentameter, though the first requires reading the word "obedience" as four syllables rather than three. The remaining four lines seem perfectly iambic and pentameter to me.

But I may be clueless about this. I'd ask you to mark how it sounds to you, but that would be asking you to mark scansion.

The larger point I think you were touching on was related to my comment that I was surprised that so many poets have trouble hearing meter, by which I meant they had trouble constructing poetic lines that passed some kind of muster as iambic pentameter or something like that.

You are correct in that I learn much more from you than you learn from me. I'd like to learn more. Can you please explain why these lines are not iambic pentameter? And if they aren't, what are they? If they are based on some other organizational principle, what is it? Is there historical evidence to indicate that Milton was following that principle?
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twelveoone View Post
I think all the "better" (take that anyway you like) writers agree, the only way to write poetry is to read it, going further, read about it.

Yes we do learn by imitating, theo posted a bunch of links for poetry readings, problem is most of it is boring and this is compounded by the fact that the listener does not know what to listen for, you either need a mentor, or you better start parsing like hell, and then learn how to reassemble the component parts.

Listen carefully to what is around you. Aye, there's the rub, most of it is arhythmic, it is the mind that begins to assign patterns over it. Transpose to the written word. Poetry is the sound of thought.

So was Shakespeare an anomaly?
Much more so than most people think. Think about when he wrote, what canons where there, how codified was the system back then? To a certain extent he was winging it (and stealing heavily). His sonnets contain a certain amount of experimentation. He settled on a certain style, because he was a very effective writer. His sonnets are measured, reasoned arguments, almost legalistic, that is exactly the kind of rhythm called for, so he generated it. His plays, he has to do it with actors and memorization. There are two ways to do this, either end rhyme or some form of counting, on off five times, particularity for the dead parts. Notice not much enjambment. Eliot may have parodied this in the Wasteland. Not much reason for the old tricks with the advent of the press, except for one thing, and I pointed this out years ago, the aspect ratio for the sonnet is pretty much the same as the standard printed page, thus it looks good!

There is nothing holy or even particularly poetic about either the form of poem or the metric line, they are surface structures.

Having said this, I agree with you to the extent that if they pay attention to how they break the lines and how small changes will affect the quality of their writing they will learn. However if they pay attention they will also see it is a pain in the ass to conform to a surface structure unless there is a real reason for it.
Twelve, one reason I started that thread was because I think it's almost equally important how a poem sounds as how it reads. Maybe even more important, sometimes. I was a little surprised there wasn't more interest in the thread.

I tried to include as many readings by the authors of the poems as I could, by the way, because they presumably know or knew best how their poems should be read aloud. Some were taken down, unfortunately.

And Angeline, my first attempt at poetry was a sonnet, as you can see, but I think it would be boring to stick to forms all the time. But I agree it's a good way to start.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:18 PM   #8
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Two contemporaries of Shakey, Thomas Campion and Samuel Daniel, two lute players, battled over whether poetry should follow certain meters or not, rhyme or not. It's pretty difficult to follow, but there's supposed to be Campion's treatise on the evils of his contemporaries followed by Daniel's response defending Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser. Maybe it's worth looking into, because these are the guys that formed the language art.

http://www.luminarium.org/renascence...ns/poesie.html

Campion believed rhyme was faddish, boorish, anti-poetic. He might have wanted to bring back classical Greek meter, he was definitely obsessed with syllable count. At the same time, he wrote lyrics that rhymed, because he was primarily interested in music. Most of what's published of his 'poetry' is actually what he considered his song lyrics. I think for some reason his poetry didn't really survive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPmEf5pmqpY

Stringed music playing along to recitation is ancient. Did some of the variety of Greek songs rhyme or just follow special meter?

Music helps you find the pattern in your recitation, so that's the obvious connection. Rhythm aids memorization, that's just how we're programmed. Chanting, prayer, music, poetry.

So, what if English lute music is a classical bastardization--the incessant end rhyme where under Greek purview there was none? It seems pretty obvious that these 16-17th century poets were inspired by the lyrics that accompanied lute music.

Maybe they read Dante with his strict song-like Terza Rima. Which would make it stranger that Milton chose blank verse for his epic when many of his other poems resembled Spenserian schemes(iambs all up in this.) Maybe Milton was partial to Campion's thinking and wanted to resemble Virgil instead of Dante, but he didn't choose dactylic hexameter.

Anyway, forget all that. The Romantics are responsible for the deification of the Spenserian/Shakespearean sonnet and end rhyme. When you were reading Lord Byron you knew the sacred pulse of iambic tetrameter and didn't have to work to find the beat. It's difficult thinking about how a 19th Century reader would read. We're probably inclined to not search for meter when we read a contemporary poem whereas our ancestors were programmed to, because that's what poetry was, a small variety of set metered structures with end rhyme. Imagine being a Keats scholar at Oxford or something circa 1881 and somehow coming across Leaves of Grass? What meter would our English professor impose?

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Old 07-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tzara View Post
Since apparently it upset you, I apologize for the use of the word rant, though "to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner," and especially, "to scold vehemently" seem to me to be appropriate descriptions of your comments on scansion. Would "1201 in his vehement antipathy toward scansion..." be more acceptable? I was not then trying to be obnoxious and I'm sorry if it came across that way.

As I indicated, I agreed that scansion (as usually taught, with its binary interpretation of syllabic stress) is inadequate to accurately map the poetic line. I think it still has value, though, unless you think iambic pentameter simply doesn't exist, which would place you counter to a hell of a lot of received understanding about poetry.

And I think your source is a bit suspect: "'Iambic pentameter' means that there is a verse unit consisting of an unstressed and a stressed syllable (in this order), and that the verse line consists of five such units. In the first 165 verse lines of Paradise Lost, there are two such lines." Is this your assessment as well?

I presume you've read Paradise Lost. Did you not have any sense of metrical uniformity in reading it? I haven't read it (full disclosure), but I've read the first section of it and it seems quite iambic and pentametrical to me:
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
That's the first five lines. I read all of them as iambic pentameter, though the first requires reading the word "obedience" as four syllables rather than three. The remaining four lines seem perfectly iambic and pentameter to me.

But I may be clueless about this. I'd ask you to mark how it sounds to you, but that would be asking you to mark scansion.

The larger point I think you were touching on was related to my comment that I was surprised that so many poets have trouble hearing meter, by which I meant they had trouble constructing poetic lines that passed some kind of muster as iambic pentameter or something like that.

You are correct in that I learn much more from you than you learn from me. I'd like to learn more. Can you please explain why these lines are not iambic pentameter? And if they aren't, what are they? If they are based on some other organizational principle, what is it? Is there historical evidence to indicate that Milton was following that principle?
I do not know how the author came up with that number or how he read it

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Your reading of the first line yields what? How are you marking off disobedience?
and the fruit, I can hear it, but is it also read as an anapest substitution, if so that gives us 11, if so the next line would be 9, right?
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
ah, sorry Tzara, marking it off as straight iamb presents some problems for me, what do we do with forbidden, mortal

Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
well that looks pretty normal

With loss of Eden, till one greater man
Is that how you read it?

My point has always been, it isn't there until it is assigned, and some of the assignations can get pretty funky and are subject to much disagreement. My point is that if Milton was alive and gave two readings of this separated by some time they would be two different things. Perhaps that is what makes him great. A small change in tone (stress level) changes the meaning (expands). You do know that the same line said three times will vary, theoretically they shouldn't, right?
What you envision you need a trained writer and a trained reader, and you will get very little or no variation. Not a very good or likely thing.
So spare me the roll eyes.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:47 AM   #10
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Anyway, forget all that. The Romantics are responsible for the deification of the Spenserian/Shakespearean sonnet and end rhyme. When you were reading Lord Byron you knew the sacred pulse of iambic tetrameter and didn't have to work to find the beat. It's difficult thinking about how a 19th Century reader would read. We're probably inclined to not search for meter when we read a contemporary poem whereas our ancestors were programmed to, because that's what poetry was, a small variety of set metered structures with end rhyme. Imagine being a Keats scholar at Oxford or something circa 1881 and somehow coming across Leaves of Grass? What meter would our English professor impose?
Is this the Keats of the cockney school, funny huh?
Anyway, interesting choice of words. Interesting thought, I imagine the first response would have been the oxford circa 1881 equivalent of WTF.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:49 AM   #11
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on a far more simplistic level than the discussion taking place here (to be fair), iambic patterning feels very natural for the most part when writing anything resembling form for me. it's not something i often think about but find my words frequently falling into that conformation. this might well be down to reading the poets i did growing up, and perhaps it really is more of an english-thing.

at the clichéd end of the poem's day, what the poem's saying is the most important thing. how it is said serves to amplify that message. therefore, seems to me one chooses the way that best suits the poem's voice in order to best deliver the poem's message.

sorry for interrupting this detailed and expansive and educational thread with homespun stuff. i work with what i have
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:05 AM   #12
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Twelve, one reason I started that thread was because I think it's almost equally important how a poem sounds as how it reads. Maybe even more important, sometimes. I was a little surprised there wasn't more interest in the thread.

I tried to include as many readings by the authors of the poems as I could, by the way, because they presumably know or knew best how their poems should be read aloud. Some were taken down, unfortunately.

And Angeline, my first attempt at poetry was a sonnet, as you can see, but I think it would be boring to stick to forms all the time. But I agree it's a good way to start.
it was a good idea, but I wasn't surprised. You are dealing with a huge set of people operating with I don't know and I don't need to know, and there is a certain amount of validity to the I don't need to know part, i.e.
knowing how to write a sonnet, buys me what? However showing up at a poetry website, you would assume at least a minor interest in poetry.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:16 AM   #13
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I always liked the way Frost could do blank verse without getting fixated with it, even in conversation, as illustrated in this excerpt from "Death of the Hired Man:"

“When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I’ll not have the fellow back,” he said.
“I told him so last haying, didn’t I?
‘If he left then,’ I said, ‘that ended it.’
What good is he? Who else will harbour him
At his age for the little he can do?
What help he is there’s no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
‘He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
So he won’t have to beg and be beholden.’
‘All right,’ I say, ‘I can’t afford to pay
Any fixed wages, though I wish I could.’
‘Someone else can.’ ‘Then someone else will have to.’
I shouldn’t mind his bettering himself
If that was what it was. You can be certain,
When he begins like that, there’s someone at him
Trying to coax him off with pocket-money,—
In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us. I’m done.”

I hear a fair amount of iambic pentameter in this excerpt. I live in Frost country, and on more than one occasion I've heard similar words, although usually not sustained through the entire length of a sentence.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:17 AM   #14
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on a far more simplistic level than the discussion taking place here (to be fair), iambic patterning feels very natural for the most part when writing anything resembling form for me. it's not something i often think about but find my words frequently falling into that conformation. this might well be down to reading the poets i did growing up, and perhaps it really is more of an english-thing.

at the clichéd end of the poem's day, what the poem's saying is the most important thing. how it is said serves to amplify that message. therefore, seems to me one chooses the way that best suits the poem's voice in order to best deliver the poem's message.

sorry for interrupting this detailed and expansive and educational thread with homespun stuff. i work with what i have
you are British?
question withdrawn
what Tzara and I are doing is so much pissing in the wind, the real operative phrase is reading the poets just that would solve a huge part of how things can be organized.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:19 AM   #15
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Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, tillone greater man

ah - now, this is how i'd read it 'thinking iambs', but i'd actually speak it aloud more like this:

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:23 AM   #16
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you are British?
question withdrawn
what Tzara and I are doing is so much pissing in the wind, the real operative phrase is reading the poets just that would solve a huge part of how things can be organized.
yeah, english. (edited to say - it's me, chipbutty, wiv' me new name, init?)

well it's educational, whatever you call it

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Old 07-07-2013, 11:56 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
I always liked the way Frost could do blank verse without getting fixated with it, even in conversation, as illustrated in this excerpt from "Death of the Hired Man:"

“When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I’ll not have the fellow back,” he said.
“I told him so last haying, didn’t I?
‘If he left then,’ I said, ‘that ended it.’
What good is he? Who else will harbour him
At his age for the little he can do?
What help he is there’s no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
‘He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
So he won’t have to beg and be beholden.’
‘All right,’ I say, ‘I can’t afford to pay
Any fixed wages, though I wish I could.’
‘Someone else can.’ ‘Then someone else will have to.’
I shouldn’t mind his bettering himself
If that was what it was. You can be certain,
When he begins like that, there’s someone at him
Trying to coax him off with pocket-money,—
In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us. I’m done.”

I hear a fair amount of iambic pentameter in this excerpt. I live in Frost country, and on more than one occasion I've heard similar words, although usually not sustained through the entire length of a sentence.
Suppose you took out the line breaks in this, this is writing 101, vary sentence length.
Now break it into phrases ‘Someone else can.’ ‘Then someone else will have to.’
I shouldn’t mind his bettering himself - If that was what it was.
Repeated words, sounds
Almost at times like a call and response, you could spend the rest of your life analyzing Frost and just scratch the surface on how good he was. This little piece of what looks like homespun hickerory is top level poetry.
I'm glad you posted this, without caring about iambic pentameter (I don't) just reading, listening you hear a rhythmic structure with starts and stops that fits exactly the overall mood of the piece.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:34 PM   #18
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Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, tillone greater man

ah - now, this is how i'd read it 'thinking iambs', but i'd actually speak it aloud more like this:

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater man
I knew it was you Chip, I have no idea how I missed "of", and thanks for the two versions.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:57 PM   #19
Angeline
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Originally Posted by butters View Post
on a far more simplistic level than the discussion taking place here (to be fair), iambic patterning feels very natural for the most part when writing anything resembling form for me. it's not something i often think about but find my words frequently falling into that conformation. this might well be down to reading the poets i did growing up, and perhaps it really is more of an english-thing.

at the clichéd end of the poem's day, what the poem's saying is the most important thing. how it is said serves to amplify that message. therefore, seems to me one chooses the way that best suits the poem's voice in order to best deliver the poem's message.

sorry for interrupting this detailed and expansive and educational thread with homespun stuff. i work with what i have
I feel the same as you that the iambic lines come pretty easily to me if that's what I'm wanting to do (and I'm not always, not even in so-called "Elizabethan sonnets"). I also find bflag's point about the lutes and writing these lines to be sung very interesting. I taught myself iambic pentameter by singing the lines. It just felt more natural to me that way. And like any rhythm, once you get the sound in your head, you can drop in whatever words fit. That, to me, also speaks to the limitations of the original form, but as I said I am more interested in the notion that the form can be reshaped in all sorts of ways yet still be considered a sonnet. Over 400 years later. That's amazing to me.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:03 PM   #20
twelveoone
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first three google hits on scansion and Paradise Lost

http://www.online-literature.com/for...-Paradise-Lost


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridges..._Paradise_Lost

He also demonstrates that the stresses may fall at any point in the line, and that although most lines have the standard five stresses, there are examples of lines with only three and four stresses. All this amounts to a statement that Milton was writing a form of Syllabic verse. Bridges explains this in historical terms by observing that Milton followed the practice of Geoffrey Chaucer, who — in Bridges' view[1] — adopted the Romance prosody of French verse, which was syllabic, having itself derived from the practice of Latin poets who through a corruption of Greek quantitative meters also counted syllables. Bridges notes that the approach Milton takes in Paradise Lost represents a certain tightening of the rules, compared to his earlier work, such as Comus, in which he allowed himself the Shakespearian 'liberty' of a feminine ending before a caesura.

http://poemshape.wordpress.com/2009/...ic-pentameter/

This sort of inconsistency in pronunciation is found as far back as Chaucer, as with his pronunciation of the word sweete – sometimes one syllable, sometimes two. Such inconsistency is permitted once one has obtained a poetic license.


didn't bother to look for the first five lines, or further since my license expired a year ago and I didn't bother to renew
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:30 PM   #21
Angeline
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Originally Posted by twelveoone View Post
first three google hits on scansion and Paradise Lost

http://www.online-literature.com/for...-Paradise-Lost


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridges..._Paradise_Lost

He also demonstrates that the stresses may fall at any point in the line, and that although most lines have the standard five stresses, there are examples of lines with only three and four stresses. All this amounts to a statement that Milton was writing a form of Syllabic verse. Bridges explains this in historical terms by observing that Milton followed the practice of Geoffrey Chaucer, who — in Bridges' view[1] — adopted the Romance prosody of French verse, which was syllabic, having itself derived from the practice of Latin poets who through a corruption of Greek quantitative meters also counted syllables. Bridges notes that the approach Milton takes in Paradise Lost represents a certain tightening of the rules, compared to his earlier work, such as Comus, in which he allowed himself the Shakespearian 'liberty' of a feminine ending before a caesura.

http://poemshape.wordpress.com/2009/...ic-pentameter/

This sort of inconsistency in pronunciation is found as far back as Chaucer, as with his pronunciation of the word sweete – sometimes one syllable, sometimes two. Such inconsistency is permitted once one has obtained a poetic license.


didn't bother to look for the first five lines, or further since my license expired a year ago and I didn't bother to renew
I guess you're really providing a provenance for how speech has changed and how those changes have been documented in early poetry (which we know started in oral tradition and so is forever linked to speech, right?).

I am still left with the question of what this means for me as a poet. It's not wrong to write in either metered or unmetered lines, nor is it wrong to imitate forms. And I think we agree that there is a point at which you need to adapt whatever you are imitating into what you want to say and how you want to say it: thus your poet's voice is born. If you don't adapt (and I believe it's a lifelong process), you don't continue to learn and grow in your craft.

You often say one must read and I agree with that. If I hadn't read The Art of the Poetic Line, for example, I would not be thinking about the things in poems that I do now. But isn't writing at least equally important to reading? If I put most of my poetry time into reading I have little left to practice writing. And if I don't practice, I won't remember what I read. Maybe those are just my limitations, but there is a point where it seems to me like trying to count angels on the head of a pin.

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Old 07-09-2013, 09:25 PM   #22
twelveoone
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Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
I guess you're really providing a provenance for how speech has changed and how those changes have been documented in early poetry (which we know started in oral tradition and so is forever linked to speech, right?).

I am still left with the question of what this means for me as a poet. It's not wrong to write in either metered or unmetered lines, nor is it wrong to imitate forms. And I think we agree that there is a point at which you need to adapt whatever you are imitating into what you want to say and how you want to say it: thus your poet's voice is born. If you don't adapt (and I believe it's a lifelong process), you don't continue to learn and grow in your craft.

You often say one must read and I agree with that. If I hadn't read The Art of the Poetic Line, for example, I would not be thinking about the things in poems that I do now. But isn't writing at least equally important to reading? If I put most of my poetry time into reading I have little left to practice writing. And if I don't practice, I won't remember what I read. Maybe those are just my limitations, but there is a point where it seems to me like trying to count angels on the head of a pin.

no, the second and the third link are dealing with the language of the time and place.
if anyone is interested in Iambic Pentameter and or Scansion, I recommend the poemshape link
Patrick Gillespie
as a matter of course, read everything you can on the matter, I try to and I am in the opposite camp. It is a minefield, and yes, full of pinhead angels.
None of this negates the points
that people cannot hear meter, because it is not there until it is assigned.
that it can function as a cuing system
that it is a pattern that is set up to be disrupted
and that stress itself is highly variable quality

Here's his take on Sonnet 116http://poemshape.wordpress.com/categ...ed/sonnet-116/
which I happen to think is true, but it also seems to agree with what what I think are some of the problems with readers and metre.

But I also believe neither Shake nor Milton where as strict as made out to be, but wrote according to ear, albeit a very highly trained ear. Basis for that belief, sheer volume of work.
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