1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Saying exactly what I want in iambic pentameter and in other rhythms

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Jun 2, 2016.

    I have written poems in iambic pentameter before, especially when I was younger, and some of them were, in fact, clear. But I don't know if I had complete control over what they said. I think I may have just made up thoughts that fit the rhythm and rhyme scheme as I went along, even though they turned out to make a coherent poem.

    I want to know if it is possible to have complete control over the thoughts that I write in iambic pentameter. One way I think this could be done is by writing a rough draft first. But I am worried that certain words will not have equivalents in iambic pentameter, not because it would be difficult for me, but because it might be linguistically impossible.

    Do you think Shakespeare wrote rough drafts of his poems in plain language first, or do you think he simply attempted iambic pentameter in the first draft.

    Being able to write in iambic pentameter precisely what I determine beforehand would give me confidence that I could do the same in more varied rhythms. Up until now I have not given it an honest effort because I have been worried that it may not be possible. Hopefully some of you can give me insight on this issue.

    Again, the concern is not that I lack the ability, but that the English language lacks the possibility.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Last I heard, the conventional wisdom was that Shakespeare only wrote one draft, period. Maybe some minor adjustments between versions, but not the full drafting process we'd think of today. Not sure if that's accurate, though.

    In terms of writing in iambic pentameter... countless poets have used it and have managed to write clearly while doing so. I assume they were expressing what they intended - it's pretty hard to believe some of the greatest works of our history were written by accident!
     
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  3. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    The English language is all but infinite. There may be finite synonyms for a given word, but there are infinite ways of phrasing any given idea, and that's the important bit.
    A poor workman blames his tools, and that's as true for language as it is for metallurgy or calligraphy.
     
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  4. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    What are some methods of phrasing ideas besides using synonyms?
     
  5. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    That's where the work comes in.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    A lot of poets have rhyme and meter in mind when beginning to write a poem, so it's entirely possible Shakespeare began with iambic pentameter in mind. Of course, you can start with a rough outline of what you want to write and revise it so that it fits a particular scheme.

    If you're that worried about not being able to use the appropriate words, use a different scheme. However, keep in mind that many great poems have been written in strict meter, so after a certain point, saying you can't use the appropriate words is just an excuse. Just my thought on the matter.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Metaphors. Similes. Analogies. If using, say, water as a metaphor doesn't work, use fire. Or wind. Or chipmunks. Or lovers quarreling.

    Shakespeare:

    Take arms against a sea of troubles.

    But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
    Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.

    Chain mine arm'd neck; leap thou, attire and all,
    Through proof of harness to my heart, and there
    Ride on the pants triúmphing!

    Be as a planetary plague, when Jove
    Will o'er some high-vie'd city hang his poison
    In the sick air.


    Bible:

    You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter

    The Lord is my shepherd

    I am the vine; you are the branches
     

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