Double Dactyl

ed rosenthal
January 7, 2015

As you may have figured out by now, I'm starting off the poetry side of this blog with some lighter stuff (although if you look closely at some of my light verse, there's a serious edge to it).  We'll get more serious as time goes on, although the light stuff will never entirely disappear.

Today's example is a double dactyl, a form invented in the 1960's.   A dactyl is a poetic foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables; a double dactyl is two such feet.   The double dactyl verse form always begins with a nonsense phrase that is also a double dactyl  (Ya-da-da Ya-da-da; Jiggery-Pokery).  The nonsense phrase is always followed by the name of a famous person that is also a double dactyl.  The verse also contains, on a single line, a lengthy doubly-dactylic word (superplasticity, hypoglycemia ) that adds to the sense.

Here is a recent example of mine:

William the Conqueror
Rampaged through England while laying it waste.
Putting the matter quite
Angles and Saxons were
Not to his taste.

You may find more about double dactyls in my book A is for Arnyx.

A blog about all the arts, including politics
"for 'twere absurd to think that nature in the earth bred gold, perfect in the instant;
there must be remote matter." - Ben Jonson
"I don't know what the question is, but art is the answer." - Guy Conner

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