22 ago. 2010

Poets who owe a substantial part of their place in literary history to their prosodic originality or influence.

Horace. Adapted Greek meters into Latin with great virtuosity.

Garcilaso de la Vega. Adapted Italianate meter and forms into Spanish poetry. Showed that the 11-syllable line could work in Spanish.

Shakespeare: Brought blank verse a flexibility and vigor that would put all subsequent poets to the test.

Whitman. Originated a form of free verse that would go on to be hugely influential on poets writing in many languages.

Rubén Darío. Brought a style of Parnassian ornamentation into Spanish verse.

Ezra Pound...

Those are some major cases, not an exhaustive list but just a start. There are also minor poets who owe their fame, or a substantial part of it, to their skill at versification: Campion, for example...

It is interesting in how many cases prosodic innovation comes about through looking at models in other languages: Greek for Horace, French for Darío, various languages for Pound. An innovation can be an adaptation into another language.

Who would you add to this list? I'm sure there are many, very great poets who don't owe a substantial part of their historical importance to their actual writing of verse, or their innovations in prose poetry, etc... but I'm not that interested in those (right now, for my present purposes) except as counter-examples, perhaps.