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A good poem, they say, trips off the tongue. What they don't say is what kind of shoes it's wearing to do so.

NEVER FEAR: in honor of National Poetry Month, we're playing Cinderella and pairing up the rhythmic units of meter with their appropriate poetic footwear. Every poetic foot (for example, the iamb, of Shakespearean pentameter fame: duh DUH) has its own stylistic flavor, and now it's got a stylish shoe to match.

For the iamb:

A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! (Richard III, William Shakespeare)

The iamb is the most iconic of all poetic feet—classic style, and endlessly adaptable. Play with its toe-tapping rhythm with this adorable pair of taupe Mary Janes: the neutral color goes with almost anything, and the high heels will have you clicking along at an iambic clip.

 

For the trochee:

Peter, Peter pumpkin-eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
 
For the dance-y, playful rhythm of stressed-unstressed, this kicky pair of flats is perfection: its vibrant color and its low heel makes it perfect for lively trochaic motion.
 

 
For the dactyl:
 
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks ("Evangeline," Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
 
This stressed-unstressed-unstressed meter needs something comfortable enough to move, but stately enough to impress. These wedges update the dactyl's classical roots with sandal-inspired crisscrosses in a fresh Mediterranean turquoise.
 
 
For the spondee:
 
Cry, cry! Troy burns. (Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare)
 
Heavy and hard-hitting, the double-stressed spondee needs a shoe that'll stay sturdy. A nice chunky boot in a commanding black leather will pack a one-two punch.
 
 
For the anapest:
 
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
 
Breezy and fun, the unstressed-unstressed-stressed anapest demands a shoe that's as peppy and carefree as it is. These cute polka-dot sneakers keep it light and comfortable with a sweet bow and zesty orange accents.

Blair Thornburgh's picture

Blair Thornburgh

Blair Thornburgh is an editor at Quirk Books. A native Philadelphienne and apparent devotée of gendered demonyms, she makes a mean plate of scrambled eggs, a much friendlier cup of coffee, and would love to talk to you about (or in) multiple dead languages. Hwæt!