Iambic Pentameter, Explained

I’ve done this topic before, but Sonnet Writers has a nice article up that explains iambic pentameter graphically, putting the emphasized syllables in bold.  Some of it is a little borderline to me, obviously coming from the “sonnet writer” camp and not the Shakespeare camp, like where he says “Sonnet 30 follows iambic pentameter very nicely.”  Oh?  In which sonnet does he not do that, exactly?  And “there appear to be some exceptions” to the 5 (he says 10) iambs per line rule, although there are “logical reasons for these.”   Maybe he just said that wrong — they *appear* to be exceptions, but they’re not, and here’s why. Other than that, though, he breaks it right down to the individual syllable, explaining when some words run into others (“many a”, 3 syllables,  becomes more like “man ya”, 2 syllables) or the other way around, where “be-moan-ed” is 3 syllables but “van-ish’d” is 2.  

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One thought on “Iambic Pentameter, Explained

  1. I wrote that little piece rather quickly and didn’t do a very good job of proofing it. Apologies! I have corrected the errors you noted, most notably that there are only 5 iambs, not 10. I believe when I first wrote it I was making reference to the number of syllables and failed to change it when I made it a reference to iambs.

    Thanks for pointing your readers to the article!

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