on strophic prose

Birth_of_the_poetAnthony Madrid at The Paris Review:

Before we begin, I need you to search your heart and evaluate soberly whether you have ever had the experience of sincerely enjoying metrical effects in poetry. If you find in your bosom any doubts regarding this matter, I'm going to ask you to please rise from your seat and locate your nearest exit, keeping in mind that it may be behind you, or opening right now at your feet. You may ignore the smoke. Best wishes. Thank you so much.

Now. The rest of you. We have a great deal to discuss, but I must be brief. I am going to advance a radical proposition.

It can seem, to those of us who teach poetry writing, that the only way to sell young poets on metrical effects is by contagion. One reads aloud some poems where the meter is key—“Easter 1916,” “The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens”—and one points out, charismatically smacking one’s lips, that the meter is key. Reasons and analogies and explanations are not to the purpose. One points; one smacks one’s lips; dharma does the rest.

more here.

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