The Music of Meter

What is it that separates poetry from prose? How is it that we can hear a poem and know it is a poem, even if it lacks some of the usual markers like rhyme, or repetition? I would argue that it’s the meter of a poem that creates most of its music, even if the meter is not a recognizable, nameable one. When the sound of a a poem is just off somehow, it is almost alway the meter that is the issue. Some poets have a natural flair for meter and employ it perfectly , without even knowing what they are doing. For the rest of us, study and practice are necessary. Even those lucky few with a natural ear for poetic meter can benefit from learning more about their gift.

In this six-week class, we will be learning the nuts and bolts of meter–how to recognize it in the poems we read, how to use it effectively in the poems we write, and how to develop a “poet’s ear.” I will be using a variety of texts from which to draw material, but there is no text for participants to purchase. This class is most appropriate for those who have been writing poetry seriously for awhile, and are ready to drill down into the finer points of poetic craft.

Topics covered in this 6-week session include:
  • What different kinds of meter are there and what effects do they create?
  • How does one determine the meter of a poem?
  • How can a poet work on developing a “poet’s ear”?
  • What is the relationship between a poem’s music and its meaning?
  • How do we follow prescribed forms effectively, in terms of meter?
  • How do we use meter effectively outside of prescribed poetic forms (in free verse, in other words)?

Participants will come out of the class with a handful of new drafts and revisions of recalcitrant old drafts that have previously resisted improvement. Feedback will come from both class members and LouAnn Muhm, and weekly discussions will focus on sparking ideas and honing skills.

This is a fully online class. There are no in-person meetings.

The Music of Meter (6 weeks)–$225

  • October 4 – November 12, 2021 : Registration Deadline: September 15, 2021

Ten spots available, first-come, first served.

email northbeachwriters@gmail.com to register 
or for more information

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