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Old 03-14-2002, 06:36 AM
Solan Solan is offline
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In "Musing on Mastery" there is a delightful thread by this name: Het Met.

What rules-of-thumb do you have for heteronomical meter? What has proven itself to work over time? I have - as noted before - seen oSooSooSoS (iamb-anapest-anapest-iamb) as the base meter of a line quite frequently in Norwegian poetry. More adventurous varieties seem to work as well. But there must be some limit at which structure is strained so much that it dissolves into chaos. So ... any rules-of-thumb?


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Old 03-14-2002, 07:39 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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Dear Svein

Your comment on Disorderly Order is the most elegant thing that's been said on this board since Tony Hecht was our guest. By heteronomic I assume you mean heterometric, by which we mean varying line lengths. The greatest examples in English are rhymed poems which are entirely iambic: Milton's Lycidas, Wordsworth's Intimations Ode, Coleridge's Kubla Khan, and Arnold's Dover Beach. I feel that the great modern examples are Yeats' All Souls' Night (which unlike the others is stanzaic) and Wilbur's Fern Beds in Hampshire County. Anyone reading these six poems might be so daunted as never to try it!
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Old 03-16-2002, 03:01 PM
graywyvern graywyvern is offline
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There is a prosodic term borrowed from Classical
prosody, "logaoedic", that has sometimes been used
to describe lines that are made out of more than one
kind of metrical foot--consistently, as opposed to
substitutions. Curious effects come from this practice,
which is unfortunately extremely rare in English. For
instance, an anapest in the next to last foot of a regular
iambic pentameter, gives it a jauntiness all out of pro-
portion to the percentage of added syllables... And i
personally would much rather see a trochaic or dactylic
line that has one alien foot somewhere in its makeup, than
a pure one.
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Old 03-17-2002, 07:02 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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Gray, I agree with you that the demise of logaoedic verse imposverishes us, though I prefer Frost's loose iambic to a rigorously formulaic substitution. I particularly agree with you that a substitution here and there in trochaic and anapestic or dactyllic verse is absolutely necessary. I've started Het Met II over at mastery and made some observations about het met nonce stanza, which which I suspect you'll agree.
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Old 03-17-2002, 09:02 AM
Solan Solan is offline
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Thank you, Tim and Gray. I was primarily thinking of logaoedic (thank you for a valuable word added to my vocabulary), since I have seen a fair bit of that in Norwegian poetry (while it seems totally absent from English poetry). But I am very interested in the effects of heterometric verse, too.

I do to some extent share Tim's scepticism. For I can "feel" how difficult the execution of a logaedic and heterometrical poem will be, compared to plain iambic. In my mind, there's a ranking, from "easy" to hard:
  1. Regular iambic, or iambic with few substitutions
  2. Iambic with plenty of substitution
  3. Heterometrical
  4. Logoaedic
  5. Logoaedic heterometrical

Yet, I am very tempted to move down the list, for I think that if you can succesfully pull off heterometrical and logoaedic, the hammer of meter can become a veritable sledge. So I will in time make attempts at both, and you will see me hitting my thumb - with the sledge. Such are its dangers.


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Svein Olav

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Old 03-17-2002, 09:34 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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You may want to look at Hopkins' explanation of sprung rhythm again as a logoaedic model. http://www.bartleby.com/122/100.html

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