Wednesday, 9 September 2009


During a recent discussion over at Poets On Fire, some posters expressed doubts as to whether English-language poetry written in syllabics possesses a music of its own. I'd argue it certainly does. I've been writing in syllabics for over a decade - the form gives me room to play within a musical structure that I can follow, challenge and mould as need be.

The key point for me after so long using syllabics is that I now find an additional syllable jars just as much as a misplaced stress would in metrical verse. The use of syllabics doesn't consist of number-crunching. These days I can't imagine having to count syllables to work out whether a line fits into the form - my ear's been trained to tell me.

I've no time for pointless arguments about the supposed superiority of metrics, syllabics or free verse, but I am convinced all three offer us their own music.

1 comment:

  1. I concur. I don't feel free verse describes well what I normally do, but I suppose that's what it tends to fall into. Occasionally I turn to syllabics and have always worked with an even number of syllables, a way, I think, to generate iambic runs without dogged exactitude. Arguing that one form is superior to the others is pointless, I agree, but I do think versatility among these uses of rhythm is a great asset.