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At its strictest, iambic pentameter is just as rigid as you've described. "Poetry" is a dactyl (X-/-/), not an iamb (/-X), hence it shouldn't fit anywhere in an iamb-only sequence. Likewise, by the "strictest" definition, each word has a single primary stress, making the use of many polysyllabic words impossible by definition. That said, "stress" seems to ...


Secondary stress in poetic meter gets promoted (or emphasized) when surrounded by non-stressed syllables: His po e try was bad vs. His po etry hurt Linguistically speaking the English language has 3 or 4 levels of stress (depending on who you ask). Poetic meter only has two however - thus it is the relative level of stress that matters.


Cheat. Drop some letters/syllables. It's true, in po'try, it cannae be changed (Feels like "can" needs another unstressed after it, doesn't it?)

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