Poetics and Poetry Discussion


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  • Gulsher John (5/24/2014 6:09:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Quick Guide to Prosody

    Think of the major technical components of poetry as roughly equivalent to the way music is represented on the page, turning
    something you hear into something you can see.

    I. RHYME involves matching sounds of words. As melody is to music, so is RHYME to poetry. The sounds of vowels are
    what create most rhymes. Because you can hear the words that match they have sounds that are (somewhat) analagous to
    different notes (do, re, mi etc.) .
    To scan a poem for ryhme, you assign a single alphabetical letter, starting with a to the sound of the last word in the line.
    Whatever the first sound or end rhyme is, mark it " A." If the next word has the same vowel sound (tree, sea or tree, see) , mark
    the next line " A." IF the next line has a different vowel sound, mark it " B." Lines with the same end vowel sound, the same
    rhyme, get the same letter.

    Example: The first four lines of Byron's " She Walks in Beauty" :

    She walks in beauty like the night a
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies b
    And all that's best of dark and bright a
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes. b

    In this case a and b are both exact rhymes. Any pattern of lines that alternate in this way form an example of alternate rhyme.
    When any line rhymes with the very next line, that is called a couplet. If three lines in a row rhyme, that's a triplet.

    II. METER
    If rhyme is like melody, meter is the aspect of time, involving rhythm and accents of poetry. Whereas musicians represent time
    and beat with a time signature, like 4/4,3/4, or 6/8, readers of poetry record the beat of poetic words by dividing them into
    kinds of FEET based on lengths of syllables, and locations of spoken accents.

    Here are the major kinds of POETIC FEET:
    A foot can match one single word, or it can span several words.

    iamb any two syllables, usually a single word but not always, whose accent is on the second syllable.
    Example = upon, arise

    trochee any two syllables, usually a single word but not always, word whose accent is on the first syllable.
    Example = virtue, further

    anapest any three syllables, usually a single word but not always, word whose accent is on the third syllable.
    Example = intervene

    dactyl any three syllables, usually a single word but not always, word whose accent is on the first syllable.
    Example = tenderly

    spondee any two syllables, sometimes a single word but not always, with strong accent on the first and second syllable.
    Example (in this case no one word, but a series of words in this line:
    The long day wanes, the slow moon climbs. The words " day wanes" form a spondee.
    pyrrhic any two syllables, often across words, with each syllable unstressed/unaccented

    To name the kind of foot, use the adjective form of these words.
    A line of iambs = iambic
    A line of trochees = trochaic
    A line of anapests = anapestic
    a line of dactyls = dactylic
    a line of spondees = spondaic

    The number of feet in a given line is maked as a form of the word meter.
    dimeter - a 2-foot line
    trimeter a 3-foot line
    tetrameter a 4-foot line
    pentameter a 5-foot line
    hexameter a 6-foot line

    III. Names of Groups of lines
    Any group of lines forming a unit is a stanza.
    Stanza of 3 lines is a tercet
    Stanza of 4 lines is a quatrain
    Stanza of 6 lines is a sestet
    Stanza of 7 lines is a septet
    Stanza of 8 lines is an octave


    IV. How to Scan a poem.
    Mark the rhyme, with single alphabets (eg. abab) and the meter by counting the number of feet, and the kind of feet in the line.
    Not all lines contain only one kind of foot. For example, quite often the first foot of an iambic line is reversed, making it a
    trochee. When this happens in a poetic line it is called a " trochaic inversion." As you'll see these poetic laws are meant to be
    interpreted, and they are often bent.

    Iamb = Ú / (second syllable gets the accent)
    Ú / Ú / Ú / Ú /
    My love is of a birth as rare a number of feet = 4 iambs
    Ú / Ú / Ú / Ú /
    As 'tis, for object, strange and high; b number of feet = 4 iambs
    Ú / Ú / Ú / Ú /
    It was begotten by Despair a number of feet = 4 iambs
    Ú / Ú / Ú /Ú /
    Upon Impossibility. b number of feet = 4 iambs

    Remarks: the first stanza of Marvell's poem is therefore in iambic tetrameter. The basic foot is the iamb, and there are four of
    them in each line. Note how the first line shows iamb can be split across two words, and in line 4 how multiple iambs can occur within one word.

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    • Jefferson Carter (5/24/2014 1:23:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      This is sort of useful. Formal poems on PH seem to do ok with the easy part, rhyming, but totally f**k up the harder and more crucial part, maintaining a powerfully expressive meter. My only quibble ... more

  • Dan Reynolds (5/23/2014 6:59:00 PM) Post reply | Read 3 replies

    If you could find a piece of this earth, so blessed with its people, landscape and laws, content with its own individuality, to such a degree, that it would willingly let all else drift into obscurity.... to abandon contact with the trading mentality of many nations, (regardless of the possible failure of OUR own CRUCIAL crop) . to rely on the faith of the fingers, rather than the fingers of faith.... and to live in true tolerance of our mutual failings and failure to forgive....would you even consider such a tenancy as attainable?
    As we grow more and more out of and away from our conditioning, we grow more into our personal desires. These desires may well be attributed to and influenced by our upbringing and environmental surroundings, but...in the best of people, they/we will wish to do no harm (without a little humour) .

    If you could find a place like this....would you leave the place that could be like that?

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    • Bull Hawking (5/25/2014 8:44:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Dan....such a place did exist....if only in the story of Candide....by Voltaire.....called Eldorado....Candide and his servant left because he wanted to find his true love Cunegonde again.....and....u ... more

    • delilah contrapunctal (5/24/2014 5:05:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      We must, I believe, do what we can to discover such a place inside ourselves....and give of it that which we are able to others...indeed with humor, whenever possible.....good job for, I know...poets. ... more

    • Frank Ovid (5/23/2014 9:18:00 PM) Post reply

      We're talking nudist colony, right?Count me in.

  • Gulsher John (5/23/2014 1:56:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    What Is Poetry ________John Ashbery

    The medieval town, with frieze
    Of boy scouts from Nagoya?The snow
    That came when we wanted it to snow?
    Beautiful images?Trying to avoid

    Ideas, as in this poem?But we
    Go back to them as to a wife, leaving

    The mistress we desire?Now they
    Will have to believe it

    As we believed it. In school
    All the thought got combed out:

    What was left was like a field.
    Shut your eyes, and you can feel it for miles around.

    Now open them on a thin vertical path.
    It might give us- what?- some flowers soon?

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  • Jefferson Carter (5/23/2014 1:42:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    Adam, I'm sorry about your dad.

    What's irrelevant to a poem's quality, its artfulness, is its biographical background or its author's emotional state. When I read a poem, all I have (and all I really should need) is the poem itself, its diction, its sound, its effect on me. I do sympathize with your loss. The poem still stinks to high heaven, but that's a different matter.

    Perhaps you should separate poetry as art from poetry as therapy for the self. Thy have little to do with each other.

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  • Adam M. Snow (5/23/2014 11:23:00 AM) Post reply

    @ Jefferson Carter
    Maybe you should think before you speak. This poem was written about my father whom I lost to cancer in 2009. I wrote this while I was reminiscing about the past, when he was still alive. It's getting close to my birthday and I couldn't help but think of him.

  • Adam M. Snow (5/22/2014 11:42:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    I finished that poem. What do you think?

    My Memory
    Written by Adam M. Snow

    Stay inside my memory,
    leave me not alone
    to fall from you into reality,
    mourning the fragrance of your soul.
    Like the joy of children's laughter,
    peace it brings and ease my soul.
    A memory of eternal joy of you,
    brings me from my deep despair.
    Leave me not alone,
    stay inside my memory.
    Stuck within a picture show;
    forever repeating, never ending.
    Mourning the fragrance of your soul,
    a treasured vision I hold dear.
    Wishing you was somehow here;
    a joyous feeling, full of sadness,
    the feeling of missing you.
    Holding dear this picture show,
    mourning the fragrance of your soul.
    Wishing you would return to me,
    stay inside my memory.
    Never leave me. Never leave me.

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    • N P. (5/23/2014 2:02:00 PM) Post reply

      Adam, As a reader, I feel a bit disconnected from the poem. There are some goodlines in here. I like the idea of a repeating picture show image - maybe that aspect could be expanded upon - get a ... more

    • Jefferson Carter (5/23/2014 9:56:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      Adam, you've outdone yourself! This is a memorably bad poem! I think yer fooling with your readers, pretending you think the poem is good and knowing it's awful; this way you ridicule gullible read ... more

  • Mike Acker (5/22/2014 10:19:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    The Shelter as reply...

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    • Mike Acker (5/22/2014 10:19:00 PM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      The Shelter Sliced and diced, shredded and chopped, fried brains and sauteed thoughts, mixed with the biting vinegar of foul abuse. The kind that strikes fear, and sows perfect demons, ... more

  • Adam M. Snow (5/22/2014 3:12:00 PM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    I'm working on another poem, this is what I got so far. What do you think?

    Stay inside my memory
    Leave me not alone
    To fall from you into reality
    Mourning the fragrance of your soul

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    • Alexander Rizzo (5/23/2014 9:53:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

      you know, there are hollywwod directors who admire silent films, but they don't make them because they're....out of fashion, and filmmaking has long since moved on. just a hint, sir

    • N P. (5/22/2014 10:14:00 PM) Post reply

      Perhaps add some concrete imagery. The next stanza could go into a simile. -Nick

  • Sherrie Kolb Cassel (5/22/2014 10:41:00 AM) Post reply | Read 2 replies

    Good morning from hazy, May gray California. I was reading poetry out on the patio with my steaming hot cup of dark roast coffee....enjoying the pre-summer coolness...and I found this poem...IMO, fun, fun, fun....enjoy... or don't...wishing you all a most excellent day:


    The pregnancy of words

    By Bob Hicok b.1960

    Eros scrabbles to rose and rage
    to gear or gare, as in Gare du Nord,
    where I trained in to Paris from not
    smoking pot in Master Mad, I’m sorry,
    Amsterdam, with its canals
    called grachts and clocks
    that bonged my homesick hours
    at different times. Which is smite
    for you violet types, a flower
    that says “love it” if you listen. Me, I do
    and don’t feel it matters that evil thrives
    in live, that we tinker and smash
    everything down to bits and then
    try to patch a path back home, it’s our lotto
    in life, to have no clue
    what a natural disaster is
    when that disaster is us. That’s what I love
    about the shrug, it says zilch
    sans le mouth and becomes
    more aerobic the more you admit
    the less you know, you know?It’s a jumble
    out there, kids, with slips and slides
    and elide’s eally ool, depending
    what’s lopped off, as in light of ??hand
    or slight of and, but I better spot
    before you pots how sparse
    this parsing is. Besides, what can I say
    about language other than it’s an anal egg
    in need of one glorious u. Words
    or sword?—?pick your poisson. Every time
    I try to peak into speaking, the bag
    of gab to learn what our noodles
    are really up to, I get flummoxed
    that the tools I use
    are the stool I stand on
    to see a way in or out. I can’t even tell
    if? I’m more trapped or rapt,
    if meaning’s mean or play’s
    a dumb waiter riding numbly
    up and down. But have you noticed
    read becomes dear
    if you ignore the world
    as you find it and find it in you
    to swirl the word, in the way
    solve and loves are the same
    bones, different skeletons.

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  • Gulsher John (5/22/2014 8:53:00 AM) Post reply | Read 1 reply

    An idea or suggestion:
    let's create a list or Glossary where Abstractions(poet's feeling, emotions etc) gets pictured
    i.e. where one paints images rather than writes.

    note: JC would help generously this " list" as He is the sole authority on the subject on PH

    (sad) should phrase as Dusk or darkness
    (joy) may take the form of blooming rose, morning dew, child smile etc

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    • Jefferson Carter (5/23/2014 10:02:00 AM) Post reply

      No way to post such a list, and, in fact, though contrary to the common advice given to beginning poets (show, don't tell) , abstractions can be powerful if used with originality (see John Ashbery's w ... more

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