Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Towards dYnAmIc Verse (one)

This recent excursion towards projective verse has brought me back to this self-understanding. One of the reasons I write in meter is the dance of syllables, the rhythm of the words, and the resultant energy radiated from this iambic ensemble. Although substitutions (that is, non-iambic combinations) are allowed, there’s times when I just like to let the iambs loose.

There’s nothing better in this measure than to mix it up with mono-, di-, and poly-syllabic words and watch their rhythm interlock like jigsaw partners in perfect step for line after line and even stanza after stanza. Such cadence need not be metronomic, and in fact will not be, especially when three-plus syllable words are introduced into the mix. It is indeed dYnAmIc.

Polysyllabic words in and of themselves are ripe with varying intensities on the metrical accent of each syllable. Disyllabic words introduce another feature, a usually strongly accented syllable that stomps on the line a bit with some emphasis and flair. Blend in some monosyllabics and the dance slows its tempo slightly. Intermixing trochee beginnings with feminine endings will help vary the lines while still keeping the rhythm constant.

Lastly, when writing this dance, it’s important to remember that the world of metrical accents is not a bi-polar one. There is a scale of intensity. I’ve found that Timothy Steele’s 4-level system of metrical accents is helpful. It allows for the complexity of accents without clouding it in a technical system riddled with infinite numbers and strange feet that only help trip you up in the end. Keep it simple Wilson.
Alexander the Surfer (part one)

Alexander walks the surfaces
each wave unfolds with unbelievable
stability despite the wetsuit wrapped
around his senses tighter than religious

schooling on the continental shelf.
His world is swell. I watch him navigate
another oceanic circle with agnostic
skills discovered in Manhattan Beach.

1 comment:

tif said...

i love how you know so much about making the words come out