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Unread 09-07-2019, 09:02 AM
Jayne Osborn's Avatar
Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Default Really LOVELY article and BBC broadcast by my friend

Forgive the name-dropping, but I know Gyles Brandreth and his wife.

This article from The Oldie magazine, is well worth reading, and the recording of a BBC Radio 4 programme Gyles made, here, is well worth listening to as well!

Gyles speaks to HRH the Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles' wife) and Dame Judi Dench, both of whom are passionate about poetry.

Get yourself a drink... tea, coffee, alcohol, whatever...put your feet up, and take half an hour from your busy schedule to enjoy the content of the above links

Best wishes to all,
Jayne

PS. And here's a link to Gyles' new book, Dancing by the Light of the Moon, on how poetry can transform your memory and change your life, which I've just bought. "Over 250 poems to read, relish and recite."
(UK link here)
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Unread 09-07-2019, 09:33 PM
Vera Ignatowitsch Vera Ignatowitsch is offline
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Very nice Jayne.

I probably memorized a hundred poems by the time I was five. No I cannot remember them all, or even most of them, but what an effect it had on my reading poetry of poetry throughout my life.

Best,
Vera
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Unread 09-08-2019, 07:00 AM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is online now
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Thanks for posting the link, Jayne. Hearing that memorizing poems is good for you is a bit like hearing that sex has health benefits. Nice to know, but that's not the main reason for doing it.

Does anyone else think that one of Brandreth's interviewees is mistaken when she calls the meter of "Jack and Jill" trochaic? To my ear, that nursery rhyme is in the common meter that turns up so often in Emily Dickinson's work.

JACK / and JILL / went UP / the HILL
to FETCH / a PAIL / of WAT er
JACK / fell DOWN / and BROKE / his CROWN
and JILL / came TUM / bling AF ter

That reads to me as lines of iambic tetrameter (with headless initial iambs) alternating with lines of iambic trimeter (with hypermetrical unstressed syllables at the end).
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Unread 09-08-2019, 07:05 AM
john savoie john savoie is offline
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certainly tetrameter and trimeter
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Unread 09-09-2019, 02:31 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I agree with you, Chris, though I suppose it's not crazy to regard it as trochaic. After all, if you moved "to" and "and" up to the end of the preceding lines it would be entirely trochaic, and doing so wouldn't disrupt the rhyme scheme at all.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 03:28 PM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is online now
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Yes, now that you point that out, it stands to reason that people might tend to experience the meter with their pulses and with their breath before they subject it to English-classroom analysis.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 06:16 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
I agree with you, Chris, though I suppose it's not crazy to regard it as trochaic.
Not crazy, but wrong.

As a kid, I saw this stuff mathematically and thought a series of alternating stressed and unstressed syllables were by definition equally iambic and trochaic; the reader could simply choose where to divide the feet. In most cases, though, the words divide into feet naturally one way, and in this case, that's the way Chris has done it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
if you moved "to" and "and" up to the end of the preceding lines it would be entirely trochaic, and doing so wouldn't disrupt the rhyme scheme at all.
if you hear "Jill went"/"Hill to" as a rhyme

This probably makes a mountain out of a mole hill. I know nobody here has said the nursery rhyme is trochaic. The only one I mean to argue with is my younger self.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 06:58 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I agree with you, Max. But it's interesting that one of the reasons we favor the iambic scansion rather than the trochaic doesn't really have much to do with the stresses of the words themselves, but because the internal rhymes in L1 and L3 suggest the proper lineation. So the iambic scansion is the best way we have of describing the lineated text. But this being a nursery rhyme, and most likely recited/chanted orally, it's also true that the listener would be hearing fourteen trochees in a row, without a single substitution, which arguably is a more compelling scansion than the iambic scansion which requires us to substitute headless iambs to make it come out right.

PS -- Would you agree that if the poem were lineated as rhyming couplets it would be properly scanned as trochaic heptameter?

Last edited by Roger Slater; 09-09-2019 at 08:08 PM.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 09:58 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
Would you agree that if the poem were lineated as rhyming couplets it would be properly scanned as trochaic heptameter?
Good question, RogerBob, and it's made me reevaluate.

I hear "Jack and Jill" as iambic. But my ear relies on breaking it into units ("fell down," even before I hit the rhyme, feels more like a unit than "Jack fell" or "down and") and when I listen to "The Raven," many of the units there sound iambic, too, so maybe that's not so helpful.

Certainly "Jack and Jill" can be scanned as trochaic heptameter with internal rhyme.
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Unread 09-10-2019, 02:01 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Max: "Certainly "Jack and Jill" can be scanned as trochaic heptameter with internal rhyme."
Ah, the age-old question. Just because something can be done, does it mean it should be done?

Cheers,
John
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