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Quantitative meter

The dominant metrical system in Classical Greek and Italian poetry, in which the rhythm depends not on the number of stresses, but on the length of time it takes to utter a line. That duration depends on whether a syllable is long or short—a distinction that is harder to hear in English pronunciation. Edmund Spenser attempted to adapt quantitative meter to English in his poem “Iambicum Trimetrum.”

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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