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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2018 > Poety from A to Z

Poety from A to Z

Poet Alison Chisholm guides you through the language of poetry


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RUNNING RHYTHM is produced by poems with a regular metrical beat, a repeated pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.

SAPPHICS are quatrain stanzas named for the Greek poet Sappho, who made frequent use of the form. Her pieces were unrhymed, but some poets prefer to include an element of rhyme in sapphics. The first three lines of the stanza are hendecasyllabic, taking the pattern of two trochees, a dactyl, two trochees, while the final line is shorter, with just a dactyl and one trochee. The second and final feet of the line may be spondees rather than trochees, so the pattern (/=stressed, x=unstressed syllable) is: / x / x (or / /) / x x / x / x (or / /) for the first three lines and / x x / x for the last. This example uses just one stanza, but a poem may consist of any number. The second line shows the spondee alternative in the fifth foot.

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Want to double your story sales? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we tell you how to turn one idea into two stories. All writers need feedback on their work, and we explore how positive feedback will make you a better writer. Is horror dead? We look at the current state of horror publishing. This month's star interview is author Nikesh Shukla talking about the big issues: life, race and big ideas. Read 20 pages of news about competitions and opportunities to get into print, and there's £60,089 in writing prizes to be won.