Teaching the Art of Poetry

teaching the art of poetry

The Moves


English is an accentual-syllabic language and it is no exaggeration to say that it is a language with a built-in pulse. All multi-syllabic English words have an accent; long ones have a primary and a secondary accent. As for monosyllables, one cannot go through three of them without accenting at least one of them to some degree (unless, of course, one speaks in a lifeless monotone). English abhors a rhythmic vacuum. To say “for the sake of our dogs” is to voice a readily discernible accentual texture, as “sake” and “dogs” seem relatively strong in relation to their companion words. The syllables we speak are rising and falling, falling and rising, always surging and lolling on the throbbing tide of rhythm. To the force of dictionary defined accent, there is always being added the pressure of human meaning.

© Baron Wormser