Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 33.1 (Paul Fussell)

Fussell, Paul
Poetic Meter & Poetic Form


Given to me by Jonathan Skinner after I lost my own copy several years ago This is by far my favorite book on the subject of either poetic meter or poetic form. Reading this book sent me on a whole reading jag about meter. I read several historical studies of meter over the course of a year, during which I also memorized about a hundred different poems to get a more physical sense of how regularized rhythms in poetry work. This particular jag has had a huge effect on the poetry I've written over the past few years. I have moved away from the short sculpted poems and series of poems into works that are deliberately longer and which use the iambic pentameter line as a sort base around which to develop the poem. I don't think my next book will be tagged as minimalist, as the first two often are. This is probably to the good.

from Poetic Meter & Poetic Form

"Rhythm must have meaning," Ezra Pound insisted in 1915. And he is right. The empirical study of poetry will convince us that meter is a prime physical and emotional constituent of poetic meaning. The great monuments of perception in English language poetry – Paradise Lost, "The Rape of the Lock," Songs of Innocence and Experience, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Mauberley," "The Waste Land"have constituted moments of metrical discovery: they all reveal an excitement with meter almost as an object of fundamental meaning itself.

1 comment:

rdeming said...

I know that you don't do addendums or footnotes but it'd be interesting to have a list of all that reading on form and metrics that you mentioned in one place. A MK annotated bibliography on prosody! Inquiring minds want to know.