Reflections on counting syllables & meter

I used to find it very difficult to write poetry with a set meter or syllable count in each line. It seemed that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not fit my lines to the proper count. A few months ago, though, I decided that my poetry really needed the regularity and the patterns of meter and counted syllables. I started using forms consciously to shape my poetry. Now, I’m finding that it is easier and easier to write lines that scan a particular meter, or meet the syllable count. Without even trying, I can write a haiku on the first try, or only need to add or move a syllable or two. The same goes for more complicated meters, like iambic tetrameter. Sometimes I can write most of a poem in iambic tetrameter without counting each stress until I am done and check that each line scans. I am amazed at what I can do with a little practice.

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