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  #21  
Old 01-26-2001, 03:57 PM
Alan Sullivan Alan Sullivan is offline
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Caleb and Mac, WHOA! I thought we'd pretty much agreed on catholicism (small case variety) for the Metrical Poetry board. I posed my initial question as Advocatus Diaboli, to stir up a discussion. Sure succeeded at that! In fact, given the power of anti-metrical prejudice, already mentioned, I would be inclined to accept anything an author regarded as metrical, though I might request a clarification of the author's intent, if I could not discern form.

Robert, again, welcome. You have brought three poets along who deserve some attention in the Eratosphere. I have been planning to post two of them, Cunningham and Coulette, at the Musing on Mastery board. Feel free to do so yourself. The third, Daryush, who comes first in your sequence, is unfamiliar to me. But her short, rhymed lines close clearly, so her type of syllabic is distinctly audible, and I like her poem very much.

Alan Sullivan
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  #22  
Old 01-26-2001, 05:34 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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RM, thanks for the post. Except for Cunningham, they were unfamiliar to me, but there is distinct music in those syllabics.

Here's one by Sylvia Platch that seems to announce itself as syllabic, in nine lines and nine syllables per line. It doesn't do much for me. How about others?

Metaphors

I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

[This message has been edited by RCL (edited January 26, 2001).]
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  #23  
Old 01-27-2001, 10:51 AM
wendy v wendy v is offline
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I'd very much look forward to a thread on Coulette -- I was introduced to his work online, but couldn't find him in the BIP. Is he really out of print ? None of the posted examples of syllabic poems have interested me much, ("syllabic dryness" seems apt enough), but I'd very like to see War of the Secret Agents posted -- if anyone's inclined.

I think in order to fairly consider syllabics metrical, one would also have to consider poems with any intention of "regularity" metrical, which might include stanza length, line length, number of words per line, number of letters per line, abcediaries, and on and on. I generally don't mind blurred lines, but this one seems sorta wacky to me.

wendy
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  #24  
Old 01-27-2001, 02:30 PM
Golias Golias is offline
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Wendy,

The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette, edited by Robert Mezey and Donald Justice, is available from the University of Arkansas Press. Your bookstore or an online bookseller can get it for you, though it might take a few weeks. The U. of Ark. Press is not speedy when it comes to marketing and distribution.

Selections from Coulette's metrical poetry may be found in the archives (Spring, Summer and Autumn 2000 issues) of <A HREF=http://www.traditional-poetry.org>The Susquehanna Quarterly</A>.

G.

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  #25  
Old 01-27-2001, 10:48 PM
Caleb Murdock Caleb Murdock is offline
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Robert, I love the poem by Daryush -- never heard of her. I also like the Cunningham poem. However, Judson Jerome examined "In My Craft or Sullen Art" in one of his books and said that it was accentual poetry.

I would like to note that all the examples of syllabic poetry being posted here are highly rhythmical. They tend to have short lines (syllabic poetry wouldn't work with long lines), and they are marked by varying numbers of stresses per line -- from 2 to 4 for the Daryush poem. This poetry is very far from being free verse. The "plain style" free verse being published today has the cadence of prose, meaning that it can be recited with a stress every third, fourth or fifth syllable. In metered poetry, the stresses typically come every second or third syllable. Most syllabic poetry has the frequent stresses of metered poetry, making it more akin to metered poetry than free verse.

The issue isn't really whether syllabic verse is free verse; the issue is whether we can accept poetry that has a varying number of stresses per line. Personally, I like a varying number of stresses; I think it creates an interesting sound.

Alan, I'm not sure what agreement you think we have all come to for the metrical board. I personally think that the poster needs to decide whether his poetry is metered; otherwise, it puts the moderators in the position of policing every post, which would be a disaster. My view is that as long as the poet is following some kind of measure -- even if that is only counting syllables -- then he or she is writing metered poetry and should post his poetry on the metrical board. Accentual syllabic isn't the only kind of meter.



[This message has been edited by Caleb Murdock (edited January 27, 2001).]
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  #26  
Old 01-28-2001, 06:52 AM
Alan Sullivan Alan Sullivan is offline
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Caleb...that's the agreement. The author gets to choose. I would reserve the right to challenge an author who claimed a form no one else could discern.

Alan
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  #27  
Old 01-28-2001, 11:54 AM
wendy v wendy v is offline
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Thanks, Wiley, for the information. Susquehanna is where I'd originally been introduced to, and fallen in love with Coulette. I thought I'd actually written you about him, but maybe not ? Sometimes I forget what I've actually done with what I've intended to do. Not a good thing.

My local B&N wasn't able to order anything by him when I first tried some months ago. I'll try Amazon.

wendy


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  #28  
Old 01-28-2001, 11:05 PM
robert mezey robert mezey is offline
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Greetings.
Yes, if you're interested in Coulette's work (and
I think he's one of the six or eight best American
poets of the second half of the century), you should
get his Collected Poems from Arkansas. ("The War of
the Secret Agents" is way too long to post---it must
be close to 700 lines---but it's a masterpiece.) He
also has a very interesting little poem, which is
not accentual-syllabic, that is, not iambic or
trochaic, but both accentual AND syllabic, called
"Petition"---

Lord of the Tenth Life,
Welcome my Jerome,
A fierce, gold tabby.
Make him feel at home.

He loves bird and mouse.
He loves a man's lap,
And in winter light,
Paws tucked in, a nap.

Five syllables, three beats, but not true accentual-
syllabics. Gorgeous, whatever it is.
Don't like Plath's poem, but that could be my fault.
I can't bear her work.
Judson Jerome is wrong. Dylan Thomas' poem is in 7-
syllable lines; the number of stresses varies from two
to four, if memory serves.
Elizabeth Daryush was the daughter of Robert Bridges
and a very fine poet, almost entirely neglected. Her COLLECTED POEMS, edited by Donald Davie, was issued
by Carcanet---I don't know if it's still in print; I
rather doubt it. Here's another of her good poems,
this one in ten-syllable lines, a sonnet, "Still-Life":

Through the open French windows the warm sun
lights up the polished breakfast-table, laid
round a bowl of crimson roses, for one---
a service of Worcester porcelain, arrayed
near it a melon, peaches, figs, small hot
rolls in a napkin, fairy rack of toast,
butter in ice, high silver coffee pot,
and, heaped on a salver, the morning's post.

She comes over the lawn, the young heiress,
from her early walk in her garden-wood
feeling that life's a table set to bless
her delicate desires with all that's good,

that even the unopened future lies
like a love-letter, full of sweet surprise.

And she has some wonderful things in other meters.



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  #29  
Old 01-29-2001, 08:10 AM
Alan Sullivan Alan Sullivan is offline
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I wonder if I'm the only one who finds that Daryush sonnet scary rather than sentimental. I get the distinct impression that the author does not take her scene at face-value. It's like the opening tableau of a mini-series, during which the heiress will wind up mad or murderous. And of course, she did not attain solitary privilege without someone dying first. There is already an implicit tragedy.

Would you mind, Robert, if I copied over your comments and the two Daryush poems to the Musing on Mastery Board, in case anyone has missed them on this long thread?

Alan Sullivan
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  #30  
Old 01-30-2001, 01:39 PM
robert mezey robert mezey is offline
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Alan,
feel free to move any of the comments or
poems to another venue. I haven't yet
checked out the Musing on Mastery but I
will.
I think the Daryush sonnet is loaded
with irony. I'm not sure if scary is
the word I'd choose, but it's not
sentimental. Not one of her very best,
probably, but I admire the movement,
the way she lets some of the 10-syllable
lines slide into pentameter.
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