Approaches to Metered Verse
June 2, 2018 3:34 PM   Subscribe

At The Paris Review, Anthony Madrid works through "A Homework Assignment from W. H. Auden" that others have also tried. At Herbert Tucker's For Better For Verse, two introductory exercises are worked out on the instructions page, and another explains itself; for the rest, click above, on, and right of each line to try to solve. Several linguistic introductions are available online too, e.g. Mark Liberman, "An Internet Pilgrim's Guide to Accentual-Syllabic Verse" (etc., etc.); Arnold Zwicky, "Word Accent, Phrase Accent, and Meter" [PDF]; and Bruce Hayes & Russell Schuh, Linguistics 251: Metrics (+ earlier version). Incidentally, Auden's original [PDF] "hardest course in the humanities" [PDF] required memorization of poetry--a practice historically linked with meter.
posted by Wobbuffet (12 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
 
I used to play bass for Stanzas of Spangablasm
posted by thelonius at 4:01 PM on June 2, 2018


The equation of academic rigor and universal themes with Eurocentric syllabi in the "hardest course in the humanities" link is common, and annoying. I wonder why you don't see a pure literature course assigning any of the classic Chinese novels? Maybe because that would be classified under "regional studies"?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 4:21 PM on June 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


Here on MetaFilter
My own favorite feed
Some links seem off-kilter
Those are the ones I read

My web browser showing
Calming yellows and blues
Challenge: get verse flowing
It's better than the news
posted by wanderingmind at 4:22 PM on June 2, 2018 [15 favorites]


I wonder why you don't see a pure literature course assigning any of the classic Chinese novels? Maybe because that would be classified under "regional studies”?

The field/department is often called “comparative literature” and is pretty much a fixture of the modern American liberal arts education. What you describe here is pretty common.

I’m not sure which department you would expect it in?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:43 PM on June 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


Metafíltér:a pyrrhic-spondee punch in the first two feet that registers the force of what the speaker knows now but didn’t know back then.
posted by otherchaz at 5:00 PM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


I should give up rhyming.
I can’t stick to a scheme.
I have the worst timing:
Iambs mutate midstream.

It seems quite straightforward:
“Strong-weak, strong-weak, weak-strong”…
Try as I may (poor nerd!),
I get the stresses wrong.
posted by aws17576 at 5:03 PM on June 2, 2018 [11 favorites]


The equation of academic rigor and universal themes with Eurocentric syllabi in the "hardest course in the humanities" link is common, and annoying.

It sounds openly reactionary:
They speak frankly in the course description of taking "delight in the Western canon" and hold fast to themes of little currency in the research world: destiny, God and "the gods," a meaningful life, authority.

Authority? I wonder what's going on with that?

Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University and a senior editor
at First Things.

posted by thelonius at 5:47 PM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Cow" is what they call me
And in night's shadowed time
The moonlight enthralls me
Tells me: commit this crime

The old farmer's sleeping
Hoofprints left in my tread
Into the barn, creeping
I lik all of the bred.
posted by wanderingmind at 6:39 PM on June 2, 2018 [20 favorites]


It sounds openly reactionary

Oof, FWIW, the linguists provide the obvious countermodel here--Shakespeare, Hausa materials, Young MC, etc. in the same conceptually challenging course. I found the other via "What It Was Like to Study Under Auden," which led to the more grounded (though still odd, if you get to the end) stuff about him in particular. I had thought the dubious contemporary context fit inside scare quotes, but I appreciate the observation it's worse than that.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:41 PM on June 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh, I am no foe of the canon, and the Auden course sounds magnificent - just thought it was worth pointing out where the author of the "Is This The Hardest Course In The Humanities?" piece is, evidently, coming from, politically.
posted by thelonius at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2018


If you like this stuff, and are near Eugene, Oregon, the University of Oregon is staging the world premiere of an English translation of a 1789 Spanish language play from Mexico City, into matching octosyllabic, rhyming English. Astucias Por Heredar Un Tio A Un Sobrino=> Tricks to Inherit: An Uncle and his Nephew

Full disclosure: my wife Olga Sanchez, who some of you might know, is director and translator. My bias aside though, it's pretty wonderful, a light commedia-informed farce to which she's added a socially-aware framing story.
posted by msalt at 10:04 PM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


Young MC, etc.

Thank you for mentioning rap. People sneer as if it's not art (thanks for the pulitzer), but the best rappers are freestyle metred verse artists and none of this would be very surprising to them.
posted by adept256 at 6:23 AM on June 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


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