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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Frame Line Construction If the word is the cornerstone of poetry, the line is its foundation. The line is the fundamental element of verse, the difference between verse and prose. Its purpose is to increase the density of the thought or image and give focus to the words. The line is written in many styles, patterns, and meters, some of the more popular lines are: Adonic Line Alexandrine line (French) is an iambic hexameter (6 metric feet) line made up of hemistichs (half lines) separated by caesura. One source indicates to be a true Alexandrine line, the hemistichs must be equal and complete and the caesura must be absolute (period, question mark, semicolon, colon). This suits French but in English, it can make the line abrupt, overly formal. The caesura gives a dramatic, sometimes formal effect to the line. The pattern slows speech and gives the line a sense of importance. Although it is the first line of a Poulter's Measure, it is most often used as an end line of a stanza, as in the Spenserian Stanza. When written as a couplet Alexandrines are usually rhymed. Although the Alexandrine was popular in 16th century, English poetry, it is the standard line in old French Poetry and is referred to as French Heroic verse or meter. It is thought to have originated in a French verse written in 1180, Alexandrine romances extolling the heroics of Alexander the Great. Before that most French epics and romance were written in either octasyllabic or decasyllabic lines. That can thy light resume. When I have plucked the rose. --- William Shakespeare, Othello Vii Testament of Beauty by Robert Seymour Bridges (L1-L14) A poem written predominantly in Alexandrine lines. 'Twas at that hour of beauty when the setting sun squandereth his cloudy bed with rosy hues, to flood his lov'd works as in turn he biddeth them Good-night; and all the towers and temples and mansions of men face him in bright farewell, ere they creep from their pomp naked beneath the darkness;- while to mortal eyes 'tis given, ifso they close not of fatigue, nor strain at lamplit tasks-'tis given, as for a royal boon to beggarly outcasts in homeless vigil, to watch where uncurtain's behind the great windows of space Heav'n's jewel'd company circleth unapproachably- 'Twas at sunset that I, fleeing to hide my soul in refuge of beauty from a mortal distress, walk'd alone with the Muse in her garden of thought. The line has been referred to as a "loose" Alexandrine when the hemistichs are not quite equal or complete and are separated by a lessor pause such as a comma. This can also be referred to as a Fourteener. The rhythm is less abrupt and more pleasant to the ear. Today I grasp what may, not then or when but now. ----Judi Van Gorder Dipodic verse is verse written in lines with two heavy stresses and any number of unstressed and/or lightly stressed syllables. This is more apparent when the verse is read aloud. There can be variations of unstressed and lightly stressed syllables but in reading aloud, the dipodic line has two heavily stressed syllables. Conversation by Elizabeth Bishop The tumult in the heart keeps asking questions And then it stops and undertakes to answer in the same tone of voice. No one could tell the difference. Uninnocent, these conversations start, and then engage the senses, only half-meaning to. And then there is no choice, and then there is no sense; until a name and all its connotation are the same. Fourteener line is written in 2 parts separated by a caesura. It is patterned in iambic heptameter (7) and grew to popularity in 16th century English poetry. Most often the caesura occurs sometime after the 3rd foot. The line always appears as the last line of a Poulter's Measure. The Fourteener is sometimes referred to as Septenary verse. "The words he spoke were mine, who is this man who speaks my heart?" -Judi Van Gorder The Heroic line or Heroic Verse (Greek) is metrically different depending on whether it is English, French, Greek or Latin. It is named for its use in Epic poetry, in which the "deeds of brave men are narrated" Isidore of Seville, NPEOPP, pg 524. It is not enough to simply point at the meter as the defining feature of the heroic line, it generally is also linked by rhyme to another line. The long lines are often enjambed which suits the narrative rhythm of Epic verse. However, the heroic line is not just suited to the Epic, the line serves the narrative Blank Verse and the lyrical Sonnet equally well. The English Heroic Line has been called the staple of English poetry. It is written in iambic pentameter and is linked to another line by rhyme. It was the dominant poetic line of the 16th through 18th centuries. Without the rhyme, it can also be called blank verse. The heroic line has become synonymous with a line of iambic pentameter. "Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art,"- John KeatsBright Star L1 In heaven, waits the comfort that I seek. --- Judi Van Gorder The French Heroic Line is the Alexandrine line. The Greek and Latin Heroic verse is dactylic hexameter. Leonine Verse (Middle English) is a line written with 2 syllable rhyme midway and at the end of the line. It was originally employed to rhyme at a midway caesura and line end, found in Latin verse of the European Middle Ages. It appears to have been named for 12th-century monk Leonius. "They took some honey and plenty of money." -- Edward Lear, Owl and the Pussycat Monostich(Greek) is a single line of verse, a poem in a single line. It has no structural limitation other than the line itself. Mountain moon hidden behind valley clouds reveals earthbound heaven. --- jvg And see Lucy Lu's aka Lake, One Line Haiku... or Monostich poems... Mote or Motto (Italian) is one sentence, most often written in a single line, especially when the sentence is short. It expresses a complete statement or thought, most often to be expanded upon in the body of the poem. The single line may be a quote, spoken or written by another. When another's words are used in this fashion, credit must be given to the writer. Monday by Judi Van Gorder "Seize the day!" --- Horace 20 BC Break the silence of chatter by listening. The words you speak should be your finest poem. Touch the ones you love as if yesterday was a dream and tomorrow is just a word. The moment is not then or when; it is now. Sapphic Line Septenary, (Middle English), is a line name for an iambic heptameter line, (7 iambic metric feet contained therein). It is also called a Fourteener when a caesura is employed after the 3rd metric foot. Originally in Old English, it referred to any line of 7 metric feet regardless of metric pattern but evolved to the more specific iambic pattern. The two constants from Old English to today's septenary line is masculine or strong stressed end words and the measure of 7. It is the forerunner of metered poetry breaking the 7 meter line into 2 lines, the first of 4 metric feet followed by a line of 3 metric feet. I seek to share a truth in simple space with black on white. ~~jvg Serpentine verse (French), is verse that begins and ends with the same word. Named for the image of a snake with its tail in its mouth. It is symbolic of eternity, without beginning or end. "Row us out to Desenzano, to your Sirmione row"-Alfred Lord Tennyson, Frater Ave Atque Vale L1 Stich (Greek row or line), is a single line of verse written adjacent to other lines. When it stands alone it is a monostich.
Explore the Craft of Writing Light Verse Alphabet Poem is a poetic technique that incorporates letters of the alphabet as part of the structure of the poem. The Alphabestiary, the Abecedarius and the Iroha Mokigusari fall under this category or genre and there are at least 5 different variations on this page, each taking its own path. ABC poem, a subgenre of the Alphabet Poem is sometimes used as a word game for children in which the child is asked to think up words in alphabetical order and write a poem using those words as the first word of each line. It is an Abecedarius without the history or the spiritual character. Each line of the poem begins with a sequential letter of the alphabet. Balancing Act by Judi Van Gorder An acrobatic bird with a blue crown crossed over and down the daunting extended façade gripping the grate with half-hearted indolence. Twenty six letters, twenty six words, a-z or z-a, is a variation of the Alphabet poem using one word for every letter in the alphabet not necessarily beginning a different line for each word. A Brief Cast by Judi Van Gorder A blue crane danced energetically for glory, holding imaginary jewels, keeping lithe movements noticeably osculating, posturing quickly round submerged tule until vultures wallop xiphoid yams. Zap! Single letter selection is a variation which is focused on only one letter of the alphabet. The appearance and shape of the letter selected inspires images that the poet explores. who are you, little i by e.e. cummings (1894-1962) the letter i reminds cummings of a child's head (five or six years old) peering from so high window at the gold of november sunset and feeling: that if day has to become night this is a beautiful way Alliterated alphabet poem, this variation is written with almost every word within the line beginning with the same letter of the alphabet. Tail Wagging by Judi Van Gorder Telling two trollops to take time to testify. Unrelenting umpires usually understand Vesting vapid vulgarities Without woefully worrying wanton women . Monster by Judi Van Gorder after seeing the movie. Abused, abased, abandoned, betrayed, bested, bludgeoned, challenged child carelessly careens down destructive, declivitous direction. Endurance elicits escape, frantic for friends, fun, freedom, grants gawking gazes, gratuitous groping. Hopeless hate heralds inappropriate icons. Jockeying Johns kindles killings. Longing lands lesbian lover. Murderous muggings multiply, needs negotiated naughtily, object of obscene obscurity. Partner’s panic propagates questionable quest. Rage ratifies random rampage, suicidal survival scourges! Tempest tethered, tried, used, unfit, unremorseful; vacuous validity voids villain. Wasted woman eXecuted! yesterday, zero. . . . . Alphabet Characters, another variation in which each letter of the alphabet becomes a character and the line representing the character uses a word beginning with the letter as the subject. Similar to the Alphabestiary in which each letter of the alphabet is described as an animal. Alphabet by Edward Lear(1812-1888) A tumbled down, and hurt his Arm, against a bit of wood. B said, "My Boy, O! do not cry' it cannot do you good!" C said, "A Cup of Coffee hot can't do you any harm." D said, "A Doctor should be fetched, and he would cure the arm." E said, "An Egg beat up in milk would quickly make him well." F said, "A Fish, if broiled, might cure, if only by the smell." G said, "Green Gooseberry fool, the best of cures I hold." H said, "His Hat should be kept on, keep him from the cold." I said, "Some Ice upon his head will make him better soon." J said, "Some Jam, if spread on bread, or given in a spoon." K said, "A Kangaroo is here,---this picture let him see." L said, "A Lamp pray keep alight, to make some barley tea." M said, "A Mulberry or two might give him satisfaction." N said, "Some Nuts, if rolled about, might be a slight attraction." O said, "An Owl might make him laugh, if only it would wink." P said, "Some Poetry might be read aloud, to make him think." Q said, "A Quince I recommend,---A Quince, or else a Quail." R said, "Some Rats might make him move, if fastened by their tail." S said, "A Song should now be sung, in hopes to make him laugh!" T said, "A Turnip might avail, if sliced or cut in half." U said, "An Urn, with water hot, place underneath his chin!" V said, "I'll stand upon a chair, and play a Violin!" W said, "Some Whiskey-Whizzgigs fetch, some marbles and a ball !" X said, "Some double XX ale would be the best of all!" Y said, "Some Yeast mised up with salt would make a perfect plaster!" Z said, "Here is a box of Zinc! Get in my little master! ----- We'll shut you up! We'll nail you down! ----- We will, my little master! ----- We think we've all heard quite enough of this sad disaster!"