Poetry form is, by definition, meant to guide us in our creative process and many of the various forms out there were perhaps considered humorous when they were conceived (some even a little risqué), but in today's poetry climate where most everything goes and following rules has gone out of style in many ways, I would dare anyone to argue that finding something called a funny poetry form is not easy. So where to begin?
I wanted to dive in and dazzle you all with talk of Dr Seuss and anapestic trimeter, but quickly realised that there was just too much explaining to be done in one post and therefore I would like to talk about syllables today, the basic building block of most poetry forms.
The word syllable comes from Greek, and is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as 'a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or parts of a word'.
A 'Dummie's guide to counting syllables' would look something like this (copied from The Gooseberry Garden):
1. Look for the vowels in the word.
2. Subtract any silent vowels (like the 'e' at the end of the 'Fore!' shouted by golfers).
3. If you have two vowels together, creating a diphthong, count only one of the vowels (for example the word 'you' is only one syllable).
4. Compound words, words that consist of two other words but is written together (likehouseboat), along with words using prefixes (like prefix) and suffixes (like farmer) should be divided into their component words to count syllables.
5. Divide words between the two middle consonants (like bas/ket) to count the syllables.
6. Usually divide words into syllables before a single consonant (like e/vil or re/port).
7. The '-le' at the end of a word usually forms its' own syllable (like a/ble, or indeed syl/la/ble.
Some helpful poets have also suggested clapping out the word to get the syllable count or even to count heartbeats, which I personally find to be a very effective strategy.
Now, how can we practise counting syllables? There are several poetry forms that are based on the number of syllables to a line or to the poem as a whole, and we will be examining these more over the months to come, but for now, how about we just try to count the number of syllables used in a poem?
To share your poetry with use, please use the Linkz thingy below (if I can get it to work) and feel free to let us know how many syllables you've used.
I am CC Champagne of A Glass of Bubbly (and The Gooseberry Garden) and I will be back again in a month to look at more poetry forms.