Thursday, June 16, 2016

Me and My Iambic

image from

Me and My Iambic

“I would talk in iambic pentameter if it were easier.”
--Howard Nemeron.

Some of us, at least me
     & the guy in the mirror,
           feel kind of intimidated because
                    creating iambs does not stand tall
                          on the checklist of forms that we might
                                     use daily; even though a lot of those
                           classical forms are a perfect
                     stretch for poetic muscles. So
             I tend to gravitate toward blessed
        blank verse, letting the meter
bounce around between
being di/tri/tetra/penta & hex,
an astonishing collage of words
squirming to fit the mold.

                          I do much wonder why I balk
                          at counting feet & syllables, like
                          I’m examining a centipede, or
                          counting my steps while pacing.
                                              I mean, I have no viable excuse
                                              for my measurable discomfort;
                                              other than complacency or
                                               lethargy, I suppose--and in the
                            final analysis, actually, I do look
                     forward to the expansion of my
                 poetic education--so rise or fall,
           sprint or stumble, win or fail,
I dive head first into each
challenge with equal parts
enthusiasm & dread, trying
to see it as yet another grand
poetic adventure, and even if
I drop out, or off, short of the
destination, I have learned to
love the journey.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub MTB


brudberg said...

Ha... yes we are different, I actually don't have to count syllables... I mostly feel my way writing pentameter. The iambs are just like breathing really.... I would be crazy if I had to count syllables... My piece today consists of (almost) only iambs... it's a journey for us all.

Victoria said...

What I love about this is that it reflects perfectly what Oliver says about meter being an underpinning of any kind of poem. Blank verse is really based on iambic pentameter which comes naturally to us English-speakers and she uses meter obtusely in her free verse. I think those of us who have studied/played music need not think too much about meter. I find that, even in writing prose, I need to feel comfortable with the beat. And that Image of "The Man" is so cool.

Anonymous said...

I tend to write free verse, unless instructed otherwise! It stretches me quite a bit. But then once I get going, I'm off - because rhythm is everywhere.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is absolutely stunning work done, Glenn :D

Grace said...

I tend to write free verse too but when it comes to cadence and beat, I like to try my hand once in a while. Makes me appreciate the classical poets,smiles.

Walt Wojtanik said...

We travel similar paths there, Brother! Iam not an iamophobe but will skirt around it if I must, My verse has been liberated; been free for years! I love the trek through this though!

Gayle Walters Rose said...

My sentiments exactly!! I couldn't have explained my fear and dread any better. I know nothing of feet and torchee, stressed and un, do/re/me...di/tre/hex...on and on. :) I'm glad I'm not the only one, Glenn...thanks for keeping me company.

Josslyn Rae Turner said...

This is a brilliant piece. I also enjoy your reading. All my poems are free verse, so this is new too me, but I'm willing to learn other forms.

Kim M. Russell said...

Oh Glenn, I enjoyed this piece so much. I think the same feelings apply to rhyme for some people, too. But I agree with Bjorn, I don't count syllables to start with and mostly breathe iambic pentameter. However, I do count syallables when writing a classic sonnet. The way we feel about metre could be something to do with accent and pronunciation, which is quite varied between and within US English and British English, depending upon where we are from - the Scots and Irish have a different way with language than,say, Londoners and I'm sure the same applies to New Yorkers and Texans - I hope I'm not offending anyone here.

Raivenne said...

I enjoyed your write Glenn. Yours is a more thoughtful penning, while I took joyful jabs at it, we share the same discomfort with meter. I like using various poetic forms which invariably require some use of meter. I grouse, grumble and groan every single time, but I try to do it to the best of my ability as well.

De Jackson said...

I love this, Glenn. The tetra and the hex and the whole gang have always sounded like prehistoric creatures to me. Add in a few trochees and dactyls or whatevers, and it's all very paleozoic. ;) said...

Squirming to fit the mold....the centipede. Love this, Glenn! :) said...

PS: Me again -- can't really comment on the meter as I still don't understand it -- most of the time!

Kathy Reed said...

I appreciate your honesty here....I count syllables, but get thrown from the train and track very soon. MY idea of iambic pentameter is probably incorrect to begin with but I try nonetheless. I believe doing what comes most naturally gets the best results. Some forms are great fun and practice, but free verse is still the easiest.

tonispencer said...

I agree and kept my poem short and simple. I was intimidated by the prompt but if we don't stretch out of our comfort zones, we don't grow. I con;t count syllables except in haiku and tanka but I do listen to how how things sound. If we don't change our form from time to time, people always know what to expect from us and how things will look - dangerous! But I tried and you had fun with mine. I do love free verse though but try my best not to constantly repeat messages, devices, how the thing looks, etc. but it is hard. Easy isn't always the best, just easiest. The only time I am hidebound is with haiku. If it don't have the mono aware nature thing, then it is just another micropoem and not haiku. Oh I go on and on. And why I keep unfamiliar forms/devices to short. Less work!

Unknown said...

I love how your piece talks about your struggles with iambs, and you don't force the issue by using too many of then either! :-)