20 abr. 2010

People often argued that Milton's blank verse was verse to the eye only. I believe it's John Hollander who documents this point in a book I read long ago. Or you could just read Samuel Johnson.

I did an experiment with graduate students once. They listened to Claudio Rodríguez read aloud and tried to identify rhymes and line-endings. Here, it should be easier, because there is a rhyme. No. They couldn't do it.

La encina, que conserva más un rayo de sol que todo un mes de primavera, no siente lo espontáneo de su sombra, la sencillez del crecimiento, apenas si conoce el terreno en que ha brotada. Con ese viento que en sus ramas deja lo que no tiene música, imagina para su sueño una gran meseta. Y con qué rapidez se identifica con el paisaje, con el alma entera de su frondosidad y de mí mismo...


I've written out the passage as a block of prose. This time, I've bolded the rhyme words. It's an assonantal rhyme every other line, which makes it a bit harder to identify by ear:

La encina, que conserva más un rayo de sol que todo un mes de primavera, no siente lo espontáneo de su sombra, la sencillez del crecimiento, apenas si conoce el terreno en que ha brotada. Con ese viento que en sus ramas deja lo que no tiene música, imagina para su sueño una gran meseta. Y con qué rapidez se identifica con el paisaje, con el alma entera de su frondosidad y de mí mismo. ..

3 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

Isn't this one of those ultimately-nugatory philosophical points? If Milton's lineation, or Rodríguez's, enables us to read the words as groupings of five stresses or eleven syllables, then those groupings are real rhythms, even if they can't be reliably extracted from texts from which the linebreaks have been removed. (If some rhythmically-daring Parker solo were separated electronically from the rhythm section, we might not be able to hear the barlines -- does that mean they weren't there to begin with?)

Jonathan dijo...

No, I think you misunderstood me. I think those rhythmic groupings are quite real. I'm just saying that you have to be a pretty good reader to get them.

Vance Maverick dijo...

You mean, to get them from the unlineated text? If so, I think this is an interesting feature of the poems, but shouldn't be cause for embarrassment among your grad students.

(The other interpretation, less likely I suppose, is that one has to be a good reader to enjoy rhythms like these that are cued as much by visual as audible signs.)