Meter
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    Meter Meter Presentation Transcript

    • TERMINOLOGY REVISION L.O: To explore poetic meter and feet.
    • WHAT IS  METER? Meter is what gives a poem its unique rhythm. In traditional English poetry, meter has two main parts. The first part is the number of syllables in each line. The second part is which syllables sound stronger than others. Because it depends on both of these factors, English poetry is often called accentual-syllabic verse
    • HOW DO YOU WORK IT OUT It's easy enough to count syllables, but we still need to listen for patterns in the strong syllables in each line.  This kind of focused reading is called scansion. When we scan a line of poetry, we're looking for the smallest pieces of the pattern. These pieces are called metrical feet. A metrical foot is simply a grouping of strong and weak syllables. 
    • TYPES     Iamb: An iamb is a weak syllable followed a strong syllable. Words like 'guitar' and phrases like 'to sleep' are iambs. Trochee: A trochee is a strong syllable followed by a weak syllable (the exact opposite of an iamb). Words like 'baseball' and phrases like 'Thank you' are trochees. Anapest: An anapest is two weak syllables followed by one strong syllable. Words like 'understand' and phrases like 'in the dark' are anapests. Dactyl: A dactyl is one strong syllable followed by two weak syllables (the exact opposite of an anapest). Words like 'camera' and phrases like 'This is a . . .' are dactyls.
    • Of course, these aren't the only metrical feet. Any combination of strong and weak syllables can be considered a metrical foot.  A foot made of two strong syllables is called a spondee.  A foot made of two weak syllables is called a pyrrhic. Andrew Marvell‟s “The Garden” contains examples of pyrrhic meter, here in bold: “To a green thought in a green shade.”  Still, because we tend to emphasize one syllable in a word more than others, spondees and pyrrhics occur rarely in English. 
    • FEET IN ACTION: MAKING METER      To describe the meter of a poem, we use a 2-word phrase, such as 'dactylic hexameter.„ The first word in the phrase refers to the kind of metrical foot the meter uses. This is accomplished by turning the name of the metrical foot into an adjective, like so: 'Iamb' becomes 'iambic.' 'Trochee' becomes 'trochaic.' 'Anapest' becomes 'anapestic.' 'Dactyl' becomes 'dactylic.' The second word in the phrase refers to how many metrical feet there are in each line. This is accomplished by attaching a prefix to the word 'meter,' like so: A meter with two feet is called 'dimeter.' A meter with three feet is called 'trimeter.' A meter with four feet is called 'tetrameter.' A meter with five feet is called 'pentameter. A meter with six feet is called 'hexameter.'
    • WHAT IS   THIS AN EXAMPLE OF? One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Alfred, Lord Tennyson WHAT DOES THIS ADD TO THE POEM?
    • WHAT IS THIS AN EXAMPLE OF? 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse . . . WHAT DOES THIS ADD TO THE POEM? Anapestic tetrameter has four anapests per line. Like trochaic tetrameter, this meter is generally used in lighter, more comical poems.
    • WHAT IS THIS AN EXAMPLE OF? This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight . . WHAT DOES THIS ADD TO THE POEM? Dactylic hexameter has six dactyls per line. Also called 'heroic hexameter,' this meter was used frequently in ancient Greek poetry (such as Homer's Odyssey). However, because of the differences between Greek and English, English poems written entirely in dactylic hexameter are rare. Here is an example from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's long poem Evangeline:
    • PRACTICE   Choose any of the forms and write a short poem in that form. The rest of the class should be able to identify the number of feet and the stress.