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Rhythm & Meter

What is Rhythm & Meter?

Rhythm is the pattern of stresses within a line of verse. All spoken word has a rhythm formed by stressed and unstressed Syllables. When you write words in a sentence you will notice patterns forming.

In poetry, pre-measured patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables are called meters.

Stressed syllables - long sounding

Unstressed syllables - short sounding

Meters are the pattern of feet within a sentence.

Feet are individual units of rhythm made up of patterns of syllables. A sentence is made up of one or more feet.

 

There are five rhythms in poetry:

Foot Type

Pattern

Example

Rhythm

Iamb

unstressed / stressed

Today

buh BUH

Trochee

stressed / unstressed

Trochee

BUH buh

Spondee

stressed / stressed

Hip Hop

BUH BUH

Anapest

unstressed / unstressed / stressed

Metaphor

buh buh BUH

Dactyl

stressed / unstressed / unstressed

Syllable

BUH buh buh

 

To form a line of verse a poet can use repetitions of feet:

Monometer - 1 foot

Dimeter - 2 feet

Trimeter - 3 feet

Tetrameter - 4 feet

Pentameter - 5 feet

Hexameter - 6 feet

 

Rhythm is a natural effect within poetry. The meter of a sentence and which feet used to make that sentence are what give the poem its effect and flow.

 

Why don't you try writing a poem using rhyming couplets and enter it into one of our Poetry Competitions.