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Break your lines

Do read Ann and Peters writing tip first that goes with this exercise:

Have a look at how various writers break their lines and particularly to seek out a piece of blank verse – and then write a piece of contemporary blank verse.


  • Iambic pentameter as we know has nine, ten or eleven syllables to allow five stresses in a pattern of unstressed stressed/unstressed stress etc. syllables. E.g. ‘And leave/ the world/ to dark/ ness and/to me.’
  • Nowadays we still see roughly five stressed syllables in a line but often in among several more unstressed syllables.
  • Now mostly we want verse to be smart-casual, nearer to real speech, or at any rate we prefer it to disguise its poetry.
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Blank verse

We’re often asked about lineation. How we put the words (or how they put themselves) on the page…

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Getting it written, getting it right

We’re fond of quoting Hunter Davies, the great biographer of the Beatles and Alfred Wainwright (and Wayne Rooney),…

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