For Better for Verse: An interactive learning tool that can help you understand what makes metered poetry in English tick.

Link to U.Va. English Department

The Point


What’s For Better for Verse for? It’s an interactive on-line tutorial that can train you to scan traditionally metered English poetry. Here you can get practice and instant feedback in one important way of analyzing, and developing an ear and a feel for, accentual-syllabic verse. That’s the kind of verse that remained standard in English during the half millennium from Chaucer’s age until the time of  Hardy, Yeats, and Millay about a century ago — and it remains alive and well with some of the best poets active today. By choosing among texts that range metrically from the straightforward to the intricate, you can sharpen your skill at taking an x-ray of the architecture of verse. This inner structure arises from the interplay of meter (the bones of a poem) with rhythm (its flesh); of abstracted, regular pattern with the pulse of felt, voiced meaning.