22 sept. 2010

Enjambment is very different in free and metrical verse. In a metrically literate society, could have the convention that verse be written out as prose. It would make no difference, because everyone would be metrically literate enough to know where the line endings were. In free verse, the line endings make the verse: a reader could not reconstruct the lines by applying a set of internalized metrical rules.

For example, Spanish ballads are written either in lines of 8 or of 16 syllables. This creates very little difference. It's the same form no matter what. Anyone could take a poem printed as 8s and write it out as 16s with no problem. My worst student in intro to lit might make a few mistakes, but then you'd call that student not metrically informed.

Anyone should be able to write "fourteeners" out in ballad stanza typography.

3 comentarios:

Ray Davis dijo...

Classical Greek poetry and late Latin poetry not only did without line breaks, but without punctuation or spaces between words. You need a pretty stable idea of meter for that to work, though.

Ray Davis dijo...

On a related note, Nabokov embeds an Onegin stanza as prose in the last paragraph of his last Russian novel, The Gift. Of course, in that case I was tipped off by rhyme rather than meter.

Jonathan dijo...

Thanks for the comments. By the way, Ray, I'm going to go check out that book on intonation in 17th century English poetry that I discovered through your blog. I'm very excited about that.