● How to construct a poem
● Finding inspiration
● How I learned rhyming meter
● Resources that I use
~Let's begin with a few basic concepts~
Rhyme is the use of words which have similar sounds such as boat goat and moat. They are often placed at the end of each line in a poem in an agreeable way.
Meter is the basic rhythmic structure of the lines in rhyming poetry, which is also called verse. Meter is a poem’s heartbeat or pulse.
Stanzas refer to how the lines of a poem are grouped: blocks units of four or more lines separated by an empty line between each block.
~Examples of Rhyming Schemes~
Song of the Witches From Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing, ...
A Rare Day
Sweet comfort breathes into the eaves
Imbuing all who dwell
Within this gentle hostelry
With peaceful ease as well.
A subtle breeze begins to tease
The window’s wispy veil
While white waves breach the sunlit beach
And otters ride their swell.
Enveloping and nurturing
Composed to sooth and quell
This all too precious rarity
Consumes me with its spell.
The Hobo Code
A knocking on the door frame.
“Ma’am, you got any chores?”
She sends him, with instructions, to the barn,
Then to her kitchen scurries
To stir the stew once more
Sweet biscuits in the oven keeping warm.
Her husband home and tired.
A day of labor spent.
He notices the table set for three.
Just as the lonely drifter
His head bent in respect
Reports that he is bidden to come eat.
A thankful grace is offered
Then dishes passed around
The husband asks the drifter how he knew
That he would meet no trouble
When coming to their door
The neighbors being contrary and rude.
He points out towards the fence post
Says that he read the sign
Etched there for every vagabond to know.
The couple, clearly baffled
The drifter smiles to say
Some hobo came before and left the code.
It indicated “Friendly,”
That work and food were here.
The other fences warned to steer away.
So, up and down the byways
As drifters tend to roam
They know where aid, or tribulation, lay.
~Examples of meter~
In the following example there are 10 beats per line which repeat, (ta DUM ta DUM ta DUM ta DUM ta DUM).
How far I’ve flown I neither know nor care.
Much as this open deck my plans are bare.
Of star or compass I have nary need,
But follow as these downy cloud tops lead.
Iambic, (metrical feet), Pentameter, (consisting of five metrical feet) is written in block units, (stanzas) of four or more lines. Example: Sonnets.
In this anonymous example the third and fourth lines are shorter than the other lines, and they also share a different meter.
The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
Limericks are short four line poems which tend to be funny and sometimes bawdy, (lewd).
~Constructing a Poem~
There are many ways to construct a rhyming metered poem. So, how do you decide which rhyming scheme, meter, and stanza framework to use?
Seek out published poets who rhyme, rhyming lyrics in music, and immerse yourself:
Poems by: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Ogden Nash, James A. Tweedie
Songs by: Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, Troye Sivan
Then, begin by rewriting a line of text. Play with it. Write another line and make them both rhyme.
~A Few Basic Rules~
● Consider the atmosphere, temperature, time of day, aromas, (how red is your red?).
● Manage your meter, beat, tempo, and stay within the lines.
● NEVER force a rhyme.
● Poetry's muse is a two-way conversation.
● Editing is weeding.
● The naming game; titling your poem.
●Knowing when it's finished; listen to your poem. When in doubt, ask someone who is acquainted with your work, “Does it feel finished to you?”
~Focus on an image for inspiration~
This is an example of Anthropomorphism, in which the writer attributs human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. Even in an abandoned landscape there is potential for poetry.
Stories, fables, and all manner of lore which you have read or heard about can become poems. What impression did the story leave you with? Don’t worry whether it is true to that initial story.
Write a line of text on what you remember about it or how it makes you feel. Write another line of text using the exact same meter. End both lines with words that rhyme.
How I learned to write rhyming metered poetry in a bubble
Fortunately, my dad collected scads of books. They reached from the floor to the ceiling in what was referred to as “the back room.” Amongst those books I found several volumes of classical poetry. So, I began to study the works of William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron and many other classical poets and I began to emulate them.
Emulate: To strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation. Wordnik.
I didn’t encounter the works of my contemporaries, the modern poets, such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, or Ezra Pound during this time, and not until much, much later. By then, I had developed what I call Neo-Victorian poetry ... my contemporized version of Victorian-esque verse ... from within my exclusive little bubble.
~Resources that I use~
● The Society Of Classical Poets https://classicalpoets.org/
● The Oxford Book of American Verse, by F.O. Matthiessen
● The Oxford Book of English Verse, by Arthur Quiller-Couch
● Literary Devices: https://literarydevices.net/
● Song lyrics: https://www.lyrics.com/
● RhymeZone: https://www.rhymezone.com/
● Dictionary: https://www.dictionary.com/
● Thesaurus: https://www.thesaurus.com/
My blog: Neo-Victorian Poetry https://www.janice-t.com/
My Amazon.com author page:
https://www.amazon.com/JaniceT/e/B00CEHQHFO ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1597812399&sr=8- 3
My pen name is JaniceT (no space)