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Poetry primer: Poetry from A to Z

Poet Alison Chisholm guides you through the language of poetry

HYMNS have long been part of the Christian tradition, and are usually set to music with a strong metrical beat. Their regular tunes provide poets who want to work on their handling of metre with the ideal opportunity to practise filling the music with the appropriate pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. For instance, you can perfect the application of ballad stanza metre (lines one and three in iambic tetrameter, two and four in iambic trimeter) by following the first four lines of the tune to O Little Town of Bethlehem.

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Handling heroes: Learn from the Bard New series: An insider's view of publishing Written your book? We'll help you sell it! How to: • Write better features • Sell and re-sell your writing overseas • Create a screenplay from your novel Pen pushers: Ideas and exercises to inspire your writing Star interview: Scandalous historian Halle Rubenhold WIN! A 6-day Arvon writer's retreat worth £600

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