Types of Meters in Poetry
A meter in writing is a rhythm of accented and unaccented syllables organized into feet, aka patterns.
An accented syllable is simply a stressed syllable (or long). Mostly, the accent depends on the rhythm of the poem.
- A foot including two unaccented syllables, generally used to vary rhythm. Also known as dibrach.
- A foot consisting of two accented syllables. Example: heartbreak.
- A foot which starts with an unaccented and ends with an accented (stressed) syllable. It is the most common meter in the English language and naturally falls into everyday conversation. An example is "To be or not to be" (the accented syllables are italicized) from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- The opposite of an iambic meter. It begins with an accented then followed by an unaccented syllable. Also known as choree (or choreus). An example is the line "Doule, doule, toil and trouble." from Shakespeare's Macbeth.
- A foot with three unaccented syllables.
- A foot with unaccent, accent, unaccent.
- Unaccent followed by two accents.
- The opposite of a bacchius. Two accents followed by an accent.
- Accent, unaccent, then accented syllable. Also known as amphimacer.
- Three accented syllables in a row.
- A foot which has two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable. Also known as antidactylus. Example: "I arise and unbuild it again" from Shelley's Cloud.
- A foot including an accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables. Example: openly.
As well, meters are named for the number of feet; monometer: one foot, dimeter: two feet, trimeter: three feet, tetrameter: four feet, pentameter: five feet, hexameter: six feet, heptameter: seven feet.