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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  2000

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Subject:

Re: Actual Verges

From:

"Chris Beckett" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Chris Beckett

Date:

Mon, 4 Sep 2000 15:39:02 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

Yes, Nate, it was indeed the later sense of measure and the triple line
which I had in mind re Williams.  And I would agree with you on the tendency
towards a "meditative ponderousness," a quality which has always driven
Tomlinson's work.  I take it that Creeley's short line comes from earlier
Williams (and Zukofsky).

Where we are dealing with the sentence, or elements of, as a
forward-carrier of meaning, then the (very) short line must of necessity
include the play of enjambment in its resource.  If the sentence is
abandoned, as of course it is in much contemporary poetry, then I would
argue that enjambment is a less appropriate term to describe what is going
on.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Nate and Jane Dorward" <[log in to unmask]>
To: "Chris Beckett" <[log in to unmask]>;
<[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2000 2:18 AM
Subject: Re: Actual Verges


> Chris--a short note on enjambment as I was sorry to see the thread peter
out
> so quickly.  I should note that I'm have to register some objection to
this:
>
> > Williams's sense of measure largely eschews enjambment.
>
> Your ref. to "measure" suggests you're thinking of the later Williams, say
> the three-step line, & I might agree with you to a great extent there--the
> 3-stepper has a meditative ponderousness that I find rather dull mostly,
> esp. in Williams' imitators (try Tomlinson's indifferent imitations of
this
> technique in an early volume, or the painful 3-step translation of the
> _Duino Elegies_ published by Norton).  But surely enjambment is key to
much
> of the earlier verse.
>
> There's a useful counterweight on p.42 of Clark Coolidge's _Mine: The One
> That Enters the Stories_: "What I had to learn was that the forms are
> happening inside the lines, not at the breaks.  And anyway you know that
> keeping to exact line breaks, even to the point of always adhering to
> reading them aloud with that stop, is a sure way to go crazy.  You break
it
> just before the energy starts to drop, as Dorn pointed out.  That's the
only
> principle I know."
>
> It's rather strange & disturbing in a way that verse technique has become
> little discussed in recent years, outside claims for the "new sentence":
> there are exceptions I suppose (Doug Oliver's _Poetry & Narrative in
> Performance_, for instance, though it's approaching matters from a
different
> angle; & one might mention the poet Stephen Ratcliffe's _Campion on Song_,
a
> book-length analysis of the sound-patterns in Thomas Campion's "Now winter
> nights enlarge"). -- One does feel the need for an account of contemporary
> verse technique that might begin to be a useful critical tool.  One friend
> of mine characteristically will refer to a poet's having an "ear" or not,
> yet I'd like to know a bit more about what makes an ear.
>
> all best --N
>
> Nate & Jane Dorward
> [log in to unmask]
> THE GIG magazine: http://www.geocities.com/ndorward/
> 109 Hounslow Ave., Willowdale, ON, M2N 2B1, Canada
> ph: (416) 221 6865



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