Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody (Princeton Legacy Library) by Charles O. Hartmann

By Charles O. Hartmann

To make feel of unfastened verse" in concept or in perform, the full research of prosody--the functionality of rhythm in poetry--must be revised and rethought. declaring this because the factor that poets and critics have confronted some time past century, Charles Hartman takes up the problem and develops a idea of prosody that incorporates the main attribute sorts of twentieth-century poetry

Originally released in 1986.

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Additional info for Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody (Princeton Legacy Library)

Example text

What delightful note with rapid unexpected flutesounds leaping from the throat of the astute grown bird, comes back to one from the remote 20 Some Definitions unenergetic sun­ lit air before the brood was here? How harsh the bird's voice has become. A piebald cat observing them, is slowly creeping toward the trim trio on the tree-stem —the three fledglings the mother must protect. The penulti­ mate line of the fourth stanza ("the brood was here? How harsh") contains six syllables rather than seven; the next also has six, instead of four; and the first line of the next stanza is eight rather than nine syllables long.

One could scan these lines differently only by indicating the caesura, which is very weak in both and belongs only mar­ ginally to meter anyway (though it is important rhythmi­ cally). Yet Gray has linked the adjacent accents "tolls" and Some Definitions 23 "knell" with consonance for a primarily onomatopoeic effect, while Eliotjoins the separated, balanced accents "think" and "sing" with assonance to suggest a conceptual opposition. ) While Gray coordinates his accents with the important words, five nodes of significance, Eliot diffuses significance among his "ten low words" without much differentiating stress, words carefully chosen for their plain­ ness and their refusal to assume individual emphasis.

These anxieties sprang, as we have seen, from false prem­ ises. " Old confusions rose up to haunt them, and one espe­ cially led them into elaborate error. Mary Hall Leonard exemplified it in saying that Coleridge, Blake and Chatterton, "instead of the regular iambics of the Popian era,. . adopted an irregular iamb-anapestic form of rhythm which laid strong emphasis on the accented syllables, the number of weak sylla­ bles that were swept along with these being considerably var­ ied, and this became known as 'free' or 'accentual' verse" (68, 15).

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