16 jul. 2004

Equanimity - if not a poetics, then what? Great post in response to Mike Snider. I'm one of those people who scan prose. That is, I refuse to let the absence of a regular meter prevent me from attending to rhythms, which can be significant in themselves without having to refer back to a single metrical pattern. In other words, they don't have to be variations on a norm to be rhythmically effective. I think that might be what Pound meant when he spoke of "absolute rhythm." Take Beckett's "Ill seen ill said," for example. It's in "prose," but it kicks Auden's prosodical ass. There's something almost infantile in the insistence that there's only one answer: iambic pentameter with only a few allowable variations.

"There where she lies she sees Venus rise. On. There where she lies she sees Venus rise, followed by the sun. Then she rails at the source of all life. On."

That's quoted from memory. I memorized a good chunk of this work a few years back. I also memorized an entire short Beckett play called "Ohio Impromptu."


Annie Finch on metrical "coding." I haven't read the whole book, but I remember the PMLA article on Dickinson that forms part of it. It is a brilliant thesis, but I have a hard time viewing the pentameter as coded in a single direction--toward the patriarchal, the sublime, etc... Isn't the ballad/hymn stanza coded as masculine too? Why does the addition of an extra foot bring patriarchy into play?