Saturday, September 13, 2008

Totally Optional Prompt: Blank Verse

This week, let's write a poem in blank verse. That means it doesn't have to rhyme, but it does have have meter.

You can use the old workhorse, iambic pentameter. Or branch out, and pick a less usual meter from this list. Or do something else entirely: after all, it's

Totally Optional


If you do decide to write a poem in meter, remember that meter is not just about the number of syllables. Iambic pentameter doesn't always have ten syllables, it can have nine or eleven. What's important is that five and only five syllables are stressed, and they alternate with unstressed syllables.

These examples are all from Shakespeare:

Standard IP: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” (Sonnet XVIII)
Headless IP: “If the true concord of well-tuned sounds” (Sonnet VIII) (9 syllables)
IP with a feminine ending: “Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing” (Sonnet LXXXVII) (11 syllables)

If you're in doubt about the meter of a line, read it aloud. This can't be said often enough: READ IT ALOUD.

Play around with iambic tetrameter (same alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables, but only four stresses to a line), or dactylic (Hickory Dickory).

Come back Wednesday evening and leave your permalink with Mr. Linky or in the comments section. Please note that if you leave your link on this post instead of the Wednesday post, people may not know to look for it.