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  #21  
Old 06-29-2018, 07:12 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Interesting and exhausting analysis! I'd add to the references Steele's All The Fun's How You Say a Thing .
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Last edited by RCL; 06-29-2018 at 07:14 PM.
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  #22  
Old 06-29-2018, 07:32 PM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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Bill, I didn't mean to suggest that I don't understand meter, or the variety of exceptions that can be made. It was just this one point that I always wondered about.

When I spoke of the stresses being evenly spaced out, I meant evenly enough so that five feet can be found in the line. That's why I posted the line that I did -- there is no way to find five feet in that line unless you accept the first two unstressed (and unstressable) syllables as a foot. However, situations like this are completely acceptable:

da DUM / da DUM / DUM da / da DUM / DUM da (iamb/iamb/trochee/iamb/trochee)

In that line there is a clustering of the beats, but they are still spread out enough that you can define five feet. I was actually asking about a very specific circumstance, and I agree with Aaron's answer.

I don't care for Timothy's book. His view of meter is more rigid than mine, and his four-tiered meter system is, in my opinion, unnecessarily complicated.

Last edited by Perry James; 06-29-2018 at 07:34 PM.
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  #23  
Old 06-29-2018, 07:40 PM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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Pentameter is defined by how many feet it has, not stresses. Your line has five feet and since the primary foot is the iamb I would call it iambic pentameter. A pyrrhic is a legitmate foot—why wouldn't it be? And anyway by itself that line has an ever so soft stress on "and."
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  #24  
Old 06-29-2018, 09:47 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry James View Post
I don't care for Timothy's book. His view of meter is more rigid than mine, and his four-tiered meter system is, in my opinion, unnecessarily complicated.
Hey - we agree on something!
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  #25  
Old 06-29-2018, 11:09 PM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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Michael, have there been other things we disagreed on? I haven't been keeping track.
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  #26  
Old 06-29-2018, 11:12 PM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orwn Acra View Post
Pentameter is defined by how many feet it has, not stresses. Your line has five feet and since the primary foot is the iamb I would call it iambic pentameter. A pyrrhic is a legitmate foot—why wouldn't it be? And anyway by itself that line has an ever so soft stress on "and."
The idea I am getting at is this: Pyrrhics are fine as long as the pyrrhic includes a syllable which CAN be stressed. But if a line has only four syllables which can be stressed, it has to be considered a line of tetrameter. Aaron seems to be the only person who gets this distinction.

Last edited by Perry James; 06-30-2018 at 03:08 AM.
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  #27  
Old 06-30-2018, 12:45 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Michael, have there been other things we disagreed on? I haven't been keeping track.
You haven't been keeping track? How in hell do you expect me to pick a fight with you if you're not even keeping track? (Don't take it seriously, but I was referring to the fact that you appear to be taking the letter of the law of scansion far more seriously than I do - than almost anybody here does - and far more reluctant to let your ear be the judge. So your comments about Tim Steele were refreshing. He's a thoroughly charming human being as long as you keep him away from a blackboard and a line of poetry.)
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  #28  
Old 06-30-2018, 12:58 AM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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Sorry, Perry, I wasn't underestimating you or implying you don't understand meter. Just expatiating on a favorite subject. As you can gather, metrical poets generally compose by ear, not by counting syllables. Metrical science provides after-the-fact diagnostic tools to help figure out why something works, or doesn't.

Pyrrhic substitutions work fine in a couple of contexts. In conjunction with a spondee substitution, they create a dip without shorting the number of stresses. It is also common for a line to end with two unstressed syllables where the final word ends in two unstressed syllables. There is a kind of promotion by syllable count that nonetheless does not result in a stress, e.g., "Not waiting for my death or bankruptcy..."
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  #29  
Old 06-30-2018, 02:28 AM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cantor View Post
You haven't been keeping track? How in hell do you expect me to pick a fight with you if you're not even keeping track? (Don't take it seriously, but I was referring to the fact that you appear to be taking the letter of the law of scansion far more seriously than I do - than almost anybody here does - and far more reluctant to let your ear be the judge. So your comments about Tim Steele were refreshing. He's a thoroughly charming human being as long as you keep him away from a blackboard and a line of poetry.)
Actually, what you describe is what I've always done. To keep my lines to a uniform length, I usually count syllables and I let the stresses fall where they may -- but I got the impression that that wouldn't pass muster on this forum. I have noticed that when I try to be more metrical, my poems flow more smoothly.
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  #30  
Old 06-30-2018, 02:32 AM
Perry James Perry James is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Carpenter View Post
Sorry, Perry, I wasn't underestimating you or implying you don't understand meter. Just expatiating on a favorite subject. As you can gather, metrical poets generally compose by ear, not by counting syllables. Metrical science provides after-the-fact diagnostic tools to help figure out why something works, or doesn't.

Pyrrhic substitutions work fine in a couple of contexts. In conjunction with a spondee substitution, they create a dip without shorting the number of stresses. It is also common for a line to end with two unstressed syllables where the final word ends in two unstressed syllables. There is a kind of promotion by syllable count that nonetheless does not result in a stress, e.g., "Not waiting for my death or bankruptcy..."
I don't actually believe that poets who write in meter don't scan their own poems. I'm sure that there is a lot of counting going on -- counting of syllables, stresses and feet.

I don't understand what you are saying in the sentence in which you use the word "promotion".
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