Iambic Tetrameter

image.jpegRecovering from tubes hasn’t been as easy as I anticipated. However, I am creature of habit if nothing else, and determination has always been a strong suit of mine. Thus, I decided no matter what, I would get myself up and about to share some of my passion for poetry. Beowulf: The Midgard Epic will be releasing soon. In order to craft a deeper understanding of why I chose to use iambic tetrameter, the answer is simple. Danny Gamble. Back in 1999, I took a British/Irish Lit course. He was my professor. At the end of the semester he read some of my rhyming stories. Upon completion, his advice was simple. “Clean up your rhyme scheme.” And so I did.

I’m not one to follow the rules. I often color outside of the lines. But poetry, like the laws of physics, has certain elements that must be adhered to. I’m not saying don’t experiment. I’m not saying don’t use prose. What I am saying is this: rhyming takes discipline. Like any fine art it takes practice and patience to hone your skill. Did I set out as as writer, as a poet, to get stuck in certain cogs and grooves of meter? Absolutely not. But Gamble made me realize sometimes as a poet, or a particular type of poet, I should say, you have to suck it up and follow the rules.

This might put some of you out. It did me at first. In fact, I almost stopped the pursuit of epic poetry all together. Then it hit me. I wanted to write like the classics. And in today’s pool of writers that makes me obscure; it makes me unique. In a sea full of fish, I’m a turtle. And gladly so. My passion comes in rhyming. Which leads to my ultimate goal as a writer: to inspire others to achieve their passion. So, iambic tetrameter. Why that format?

When telling a story, this method accentuates the flow and rhythm of the action. Depending on the word usage, it slows down or speeds up the reader while they engage in the rhyming tale. Iambic tetrameter becomes the soundtrack to the story, so to speak. Before you know it, your mind has looped into the rhythm’s rope, and its pulling you gracefully along for a wordy ride.

Here’s a great website that explains how this works: http://study.com/academy/lesson/iambic-tetrameter-definition-examples-quiz.html.

My main goal today is to familiarize you with the basics of this structure. Iambic tetrameter … A past life of poetry coming back to the modern era full throttle! Next week I’ll give some examples, and open the floor for you to share some of your own. Until then, happy writing!


Author: JamesMatthewByers

James Matthew Byers resides in Odenville, Alabama. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master's in 2010. His epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, is out from by Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. Mr. Byers is published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and eZines. He has also won numerous poetry contests for the Alabama State Poetry Society.

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