The answer is that I try to construct such poetry whilst strictly obeying my chosen syllabic foot and line meter. What does this mean? Well, my latest embarrassment of a business card was created with the hopes that more people will be able to identify these poetic constructions, and try sticking to them when they next write a poem.
– / – / – / – / – / (Iambic Pentameter, 5 iambs)
[- unstress] [/ stress] A group of syllabic stresses is a FOOT, the number of feet in a line is the METER.
|Two Syllables:||Monometer 1|
|Iambic (- /)||Dimeter 2|
|Trochaic (/ -)||Trimeter 3|
|Spondaic (/ /)||Tetrameter 4|
|Pyrrhic (- -)||Pentameter 5|
|Three Syllables:||Hexameter 6|
|Anapestic (- – /)||Heptameter 7|
|Dactylic (/ – -)||Octameter 8|
/ – – / – – / – – / – – (Dactylic Tetrameter, 4 dactyls)
Naturally, not all poetry absolutely must adhere to these rules, but I hope this will be a useful resource for those who seek such rhythm and pattern in their work. Some of the most exciting poetry will mix these up, playing with multiple different feet within the same line, and juxtaposing meter throughout the poem, or ignoring them completely – and that’s awesome, too.
Practise your own poetry lines in the Comments – then identify the Foot and Meter patterns you’ve used!