Saturday, 28 January 2012
Iamb, stressed or unstressed, that is the question!
prepare for an AGM of Mothers' Union branch which I am leader of, as well as preparing items for a display to do with National Marriage Week which starts on 7th February.
I haven't been in the mood for writing poetry. However, poetry class was interesting on Thursday. We looked at meter - all those stressed and unstressed syllables and by the end we were all stressed! Even our tutor who spent months studying this stuff finds it hard! I feel a lot better about my lack of understanding of it myself now. We all attempted a two line iambic pentameter and looked at Sonnet 18, Shakespeare's famous Shall I compare thee to a summer's day and we had a copy of part of Milton's Paradise Lost (thankfully we didn't have to read it!). Basically, iambic pentameter is five iambic feet (five beats or stresses per line (foot) - it's the dum-di-dum-di-dum-di-dum sort of rhythm. There are variations of stress which all have names like trochee, anapest, dactyl and spondee and there are different feet length. Because I am by no means an expert I'll refer you to other places if you would like to get to grips with this. Firstly, a book by Stephen Fry called The Ode Less Travelled, well worth a read. Try this website but there are many more. The sign used over a stressed syllable is a dash - or a slash / and unstressed syllables have a u above them. Here is another website which may be helpful using Sonnet 18 as an example. Good luck! At class we will be looking at Sonnets in a couple of weeks, so revisiting this nightmare, ha, ha. Meantime, next week we are to take in a poem to workshop.