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words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: March 26, 2004 04:30AM

Maybe this is a very basic question:
While trying to fit words into the lines of a metered poem, should one keep to the natural stress pattern as given in the dictionary eg "Happiness (Hap"pi*ness) n." and is it wrong, or not effective - to change this? Thank you in advance for the replies.



Post Edited (03-26-04 03:31)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: joseph torelli (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: March 26, 2004 09:58AM

ns:

As a rule, I don't like force-fitting words into a poem. Unnatural stess patterns are distracting, make the reader work far too hard, and can detract from an otherewise excellent work.

There are exceptions, of course, such as limericks and other light-hearted or humorous poems. These can actually benefit from a well-chosen force-fitted word now and then. But even here, you should be careful not to overdo.

joet


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: March 26, 2004 11:47AM

Some variation is acceptable, depending on the meter used. Happiness, as I hear it, is a dactyl, having the primary stress on the first syllable with two trailing syllables. If using iambic meter, the secondary stress on the last syllable would allow it to be used: happiness/sweet caress. Could pattern ever rhyme with burn? Nope.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: March 29, 2004 01:48AM

Thanks for the response Joseph, Hugh. That makes real sense. It is stupid to use Happiness only in a dactyllic meter. On the other hand, if you could use another word for happiness that fits in better with the meter it would read better, I guess.

However, I did not understand this setence Hugh.
"Could pattern ever rhyme with burn?"
In what context are you saying this?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: March 29, 2004 02:30PM

Pattern could rhyme with saturn but not with burn. Rhymes must be based on the stressed syllable. Yeah, I have heard of 'light rhymes', but they are not esthetically pleasing, at least to me.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: March 29, 2004 08:33PM


I feel the same way. If you're serious about rhyme -- I mean if you want rhyming to be a significant aspect of your poem -- then you should use good rhymes unless you have a darn good reason. A darn good reason might be HUMOR (e.g., rhyming "where class is" with "em-PHAS-is") or, in a very long poem, the need to find several words to rhyme with one that occurs frequently.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (---.bng.vsnl.net.in)
Date: March 31, 2004 01:37AM

"Rhymes must be based on the stressed syllable."

I never knew this or thought of this before. Thanks.

The reason is mainly auditory, right?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: March 31, 2004 02:28AM

Exactly, ns.

Les


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 06, 2004 01:51AM

Some article told me how to write words into the metre of a line. I just wanted to run it by you all to see if I have got it right.

The unimportant words like 'to' 'the' 'with' etc. and the naturally unstressed syllables of the polysyllabic words are placed in the unstressed beats of the meter. The monosyllabic important words and the naturally stressed syllables of the polysyllabic words are placed in the stressed beats of the meter.

Is this correct? And is there more to it?

(Sorry, I edit my posts to get my English right.)



Post Edited (04-06-04 06:51)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 06, 2004 11:45AM

You wouldn't know it from reading classical poetry, but your premise is basically true. Keep in mind that verbs and nouns tend to be stressed more than other parts of speech, but ... once one has established a particular rhythm in a poem, the reader will tend to hear that meter, even if the beats are relaxed later on. That includes lines with all monosyllables: as long as the first beat is strong, the ear will hear the rest of the words correctly.

Take this stanza from Hap, by Thomas Hardy, for example:

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy loves loss is my hates profiting!"

The author wants the reader to hear it as iambic pentameter, which we will do after reading the first line. We will even hear the last line as,

that THY love's LOSS is MY hate's PROfiTING

Weird, huh?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 06, 2004 06:19PM


Conversely-wise, you can use the IMPORTANCE of words for a hint about what to emphasis.

Here's a good example. At the end of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, Puck gives a little valedictory speech to the audience:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:


If it were a song, it would definitely be in "four-four" time. However, each line can start on an "upbeat" or a "downbeat."


If you stress the first syllable of each line, it goes like this:


IF we shadows HAVE offended
THINK but this, and ALL is mended. ...
GEN-tles do not REP-rehend:
IF you pardon, WE will mend.


But if you start on the "downbeat," the stresses tend to fall on the more meaningful words, thus:


If we SHAD-ows have of-FEND-ed,
Think but THIS, and all is MEND-ed. . ..

Gentles, DO not repre-HEND,
If you PARdon, we will MEND.


This way you don't have to force an emphasis on the first syllable of "reprehend," and most of the emphasized words are MEANING words, not just filler.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: April 07, 2004 11:38AM

I would think the trochaic meter is intended since,

If we SHAD-ows have of-FEND-ed,

and,

Gentles, DO not repre-HEND,

would then have three unstressed syllables between booms, which one almost never sees.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 08, 2004 05:10AM

that THY love's LOSS is MY hate's PROfiTING
Weird, huh?
Yeah, weird, but its reassuring to know they won't burn you at the stake if after working to establish the meter you take some (well deserved) liberties. I thought it was expected to stick to the meter throughout and that is really tough to do.

Conversely-wise, you can use the IMPORTANCE of words for a hint about what to emphasis.
Yes. I guess that helps you to set the basic metre - rather than deciding upon a meter and forcing your poem to conform.

Ever since I started this thread my learning has gone from here to there ("there" being the hand placed higher than "here"). Thanks.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 08, 2004 11:52AM

you take some (well deserved) liberties.

Oddly, it is considered a fault NOT to make some substitutions in the basic rhythm. Be careful of promotions and demotions, though. The changes should be deliberate and intended to eliminate the 'sing song' effect, not sloppy construction.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: April 08, 2004 02:50PM

We rarely burn people at the stake around here- boiling oil is just so much more effective.

pam


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: April 08, 2004 06:49PM

And contributes less to global warming.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: April 08, 2004 07:37PM

Plus, you can use it over again and again.

pam


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: April 08, 2004 07:59PM

And cook chips in between times.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 09, 2004 03:53PM

Boiling in oil ... reminds me of Chris Rock's suggestion for reducing gun violence. He says forget about guns--but raise the price of bullets to $500. Then he imagines someone saying, "You &($%^^#% $^&#%$* $&^%#^&& -- I'd shoot you right now, if I could afford it!"


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 12, 2004 02:22AM

We rarely burn people at the stake around here - boiling oil is just so much more effective.

Oh. I did not mean the people here. I just meant critics in general. But now that I know about the oil Iwill be very careful.

Be careful of promotions and demotions, though.

Hugh, by promotions and demotions you mean stressing an unstressed syllable or unstressing a stressed syllable?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 12, 2004 11:47AM

Right, and again, examples of sloppy construction. Forcing the reader to slur over (ignore) a normal stress in order to pronounce a word the way the rhythm of a particular line requires. Or, stress a syllable that would otherwise not be stressed. No examples spring immediately to mind, but hopefully you see what I mean.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: jimmycrack corn andidontcare (12.159.171.---)
Date: April 12, 2004 03:30PM

You're awesome.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: gay pony kickin in da closet (12.159.171.---)
Date: April 12, 2004 03:33PM

Jimmy can i have ur BABY!!!!~!!!

PS: Sure to your ?

PSS:Yeah ME!

PSSS:051251847849565

PSSSS: ????秆熥祆?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: gay pony kickin in da closet (12.159.171.---)
Date: April 12, 2004 03:34PM

PSSSSSSS: KIDS dont DO DRUGS!


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: April 12, 2004 07:23PM

What's this ps, pss, pss? Is it what I was taught as post scipt, post post script (pps), post post post script (ppps)?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (---.bng.vsnl.net.in)
Date: April 15, 2004 04:11AM

I think I had it wrong. What I meant by "well deserved liberty" is "sloppy construction". That is letting one word slip "Forcing the reader to slur over (ignore) a normal stress in order to pronounce a word the way the rhythm of a particular line requires. Or, stress a syllable that would otherwise not be stressed."
So would that mean "make(ing) some substitutions in the basic rhythm" would then amount to all-out, deliberate, disregard of the meter that you have earlier taken care to establish as in the thomas hardy line:
"that THY love's LOSS is MY hate's PROfiTING"?

Hugh, Is this then the way to achieve this and not excuse just one word not fitting in?



Post Edited (04-15-04 04:44)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-02rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 15, 2004 10:41AM

Huh? Run that by me again?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (12.154.236.---)
Date: April 15, 2004 03:04PM


NS, when we talk about "rules" we are not imposing them on you or anyone else. We can't say that it's RIGHT or WRONG to use a certain technique or break a certain pattern--but we can study the poems we love and see if the use/abuse of patterns is part of what makes them special.

If you are having trouble with "just one word not fitting in," feel free to share the line and the word with us. But we can't tell you what you SHOULD do about it. We can only mention some things you COULD do, if it felt right to you.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-02rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 15, 2004 03:31PM

See if ya can parse this puppy:


Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
-- Tennyson


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 16, 2004 03:42AM

I am really very sorry. My post must have come out sounding all wrong. I was not feeling imposed upon - at all, I just needed to crack this. I was irritated at myself for not getting it.
Thanks for your patience. You guys know a lot.



Post Edited (04-16-04 04:36)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 16, 2004 03:42AM

I am really very sorry. My post must have come out sounding all wrong. I was not feeling imposed upon - at all, I just needed to crack this. I was irritated at myself for not getting it.
Thanks for your patience. You guys know a lot.



Post Edited (04-16-04 04:37)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 16, 2004 11:54AM

I am not feeling frustrated about it. I just posted the Tennyson to show how even the best of the masters make things awfully tough to interpret. If one did not know that he intended iambic pentameter, how would he guess it from reading:

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.


I can hear, for example,

TEARS, IDle TEARS, i KNOW not WHAT they MEAN

for six beats, and,

tears FROM the DEPTH of SOME diVINE desPAIR

seems to promote the word 'from' although one could read it as,

TEARS from the DEPTH of SOME diVINE desPAIR

with a trochee and an anapest at the beginning. The same problem with a lot of other lines in this piece.

Can we call this sloppy construction? Not if it's Tennyson, no. But if you do it ...


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 16, 2004 12:12PM

Whups! That last line of T's should be a headless iamb and an anapest, or a trochee plus an iamb, sorry.

TEARS from the DEPTH


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 16, 2004 12:50PM

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
But I'm going to write a poem about them anyway...

==========

I know not "headless iambs" (well, I do--I just don't like to admit it in public)--but what I hear is this:

For the first three stanzas:

 BUM di-di-DUM , di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM
 BUM di-di-DUM , di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM
 BUM di-di-DUM , di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM

  di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM
  di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM

And then a switcheroo for the last stanza:

 di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM
 di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM
 di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM

  BUM di-di-DUM , di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM
  BUM di-di-DUM , di-DUM di-DUM di-DUM


This would be FUN to set to music, with the switch.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 21, 2004 02:20AM

I just posted the Tennyson to show how even the best of the masters make things awfully tough to interpret. If one did not know that he intended iambic pentameter, how would he guess it from reading:

I am really glad to read this. I struggled with it and really did not get anywhere, but I got your point.
Now with proper stresses I find that the lines I write look "cleaner". And now, if I cannot fit in a word I just go all out and mess it up which is a lot of fun to do.

Can we call this sloppy construction? Not if it's Tennyson, no. But if you do it...

Uf!


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 21, 2004 12:34PM

Uf! - reminds me of Terri Garr's character in Young Frankenstein. Chatting at the breakfast table with Gene Wilder about the size of the monster, Inga (Terri Garr) says,

"A creature like that would have a very large schwanzstucker!"

Gene Wilder responds, "That goes without saying."

Inga, "UF!"


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 21, 2004 05:00PM

"Can we call this sloppy construction? Not if it's Tennyson, no."

Well, maybe we can't call it "sloppy" to his face, but...

I think the pertinent issue is what a professor of mine called "mastering the form before you tinker with it." He wanted his students to really submit to the rigors of the form before they decided that they were advanced enough to depart from it. (He wasn't talking about poetry, but it applies.)

Another issue is WHAT MATTERS TO YOU ABOUT THE POEM YOU'RE WRITING. Only the writer can decide if using a certain word or phrase is "worth" departing from the established form.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: April 21, 2004 06:32PM

That's like my attitude to abstract art. If there's some evidence that the artist can produce something recognisable (e.g. a human looking portrate) then I will accept a mess as looking as they imagined it. If not, then maybe they're just incompetent.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 22, 2004 03:20AM

I think the pertinent issue is what a professor of mine called "mastering the form before you tinker with it." He wanted his students to really submit to the rigors of the form before they decided that they were advanced enough to depart from it.

Yes absolutely. So fun apart, i feel at this point i need to have everything conform. I am reworking those lines, which go all over the place. Of course the pleasure of getting is just right - is something else.

Inga, "UF!"
Oof means "Bugger!"

Just one (two) question(s): a diphthong is one syllable, right?
Is the Schwa in "different" and "every" ignored or included? (Perhaps this has been discussed elsewhere? I searched but could not find it.)



Post Edited (04-22-04 02:36)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 22, 2004 12:15PM

Just one (two) question(s): a diphthong is one syllable, right?

Right, except in southern parts of the USA, where even single syllables can sound like two or more. For example, "I helped!" would sound like, "I hayuped!" Many examples can be found, such as fire and fy-ur.

Is the Schwa in "different" and "every" ignored or included?

Sometimes either way, depending on how the author needs the meter. Same with 'family', which can sound like famly or famully, or limrick/limerick.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 22, 2004 12:24PM


DIPHTHONG: "A coalition or union of two vowel sounds pronounced in one syllable; as, ou in out, oi in noise; -- called a proper diphthong."

Not just any single syllable -- a single syllable containing a "coalition or union of two vowel sounds."


(Alternate meaning: pool-side rubber sandals.)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 26, 2004 01:20AM

thanks.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 26, 2004 03:48PM


Over the weekend I remembered more about diphthongs.

MOST IMPOTANTLY: "diphthong" is a term used to describe SPEECH, not writing. It's a syllable containing two vowel sounds AS SPOKEN by a person. And here's why that matters.

When I say the word FLAME, it's one syllable with one vowel sound.

But when James Nesbitt says the word FLAME with an Irish accent in the movie LUCKY BREAK, the diphthong is so distinct that it sounds like two syllables: FLEE-um.

(Try saying "my heart's a FLEE-um." You feel Irish already, don't you?)


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: April 26, 2004 03:48PM

Hugh, I know there's a typo in that post, you don't have to make an issue of it.


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: April 26, 2004 05:48PM

Diphthong, is that what you use for liver pat at a beach party? Or is it something the potentate?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: ns (202.88.172.---)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:01AM

MOST IMPOTANTLY: "diphthong" is a term used to describe SPEECH, not writing. It's a syllable containing two vowel sounds AS SPOKEN by a person.

That is where the problem is (with poetry writing not with the potentate well maybe with him too) because you speak it as two vowel sounds it is very natural to count it as two syllables and then the the arithmetic comes out all wrong. smiling smiley

However with the Schwa, since it goes both ways, if the numbers don't add up right, you assume that the poet meant to have different pronounced as diff'rent, or do you have to put the apostrophe to indicate that it should be pronounced without the Schwa?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: April 27, 2004 11:12AM

To me, the schwa is not an elided syllable, but more of an 'uh' sound, such as the first and last syllables of America. The missing syllables in different or every is an elision. Merkin, mebbe.

Personally, I prefer to omit the apostrophe unless it is clearly impossible for the reader to hear the correct sound. I find them distracting, that is. I believe the reader will hear the famully or famly correctly if the rest of the meter makes the choice obvious.

Surely the apostrophes are another example of laziness on the part of the author? If you do it, yes, but not if Coleridge does (from Cristabel):


Again the wild-flower wine she drank :
Her fair large eyes 'gan glitter bright,


Come on, Sammy, 'imme a break with the 'gan!


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 01:37PM

Could Pattern ever rhyme with burn?
In matters such as saddleburs?
Pah-TERN will burn
but Patterns scatter


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 01:50PM

May as well say Happiness rhymes with Penis


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 01:56PM

the "phas" is more like "fuss" than class .......i'd say there's no real rule as long as it sounds good


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-03rh16rt-04rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.ne)
Date: April 27, 2004 01:59PM

Happiness is a ha' penis?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:01PM

if you havent got a penis then a ha'penis will do
if you haven't got a ha'penis then god bless you


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:12PM

Ow ! Oy !

not diphthongs?


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:15PM

i'm pssssssssd off !


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:23PM

TEARS idle TEARS i
know not what they mean

Bang diddy Bang Bang
diddy diddy Bang


Re: silence of the iambs
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:26PM

Boom shaka laka laka Boom !


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 02:29PM

i tend to agree......if it's pleasing to the eye (as the poem would be pleasing to the ear), then its cool

or if it's SO disturbing as to produce a reaction...then also cool

otherwise it's self-indulgent crap


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 03:15PM

Give Sammy a break...he was on 'orphine at the time !


Re: words and stresses
Posted by: Johnny SansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: April 27, 2004 03:17PM

You get a Nabob AND a punjab for THAT one !




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