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Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic…

Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters (Everyman's Library…

by Annie Finch

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This is a short book, but the diversity of the selections, and the clear explanations of how the poems use meter, make it a wonderful introduction (or reintroduction) to meter in English language poetry. I suppose it would likely be a waste for a practicing poet - a glossary or encyclopedia of poetics would serve better as a comprehensive reference - but it has opened the door to a renewed interest in poetry for me. One of the pleasures of the book is that a bunch of the poems are by poets I'd never heard of before, probably including some students of the editor - they are fine, moving selections, and I'd have been unlikely to stumble across them any other way.

It's also interesting to compare Finch's translation of a portion of the Anglo-Saxon poem the Seafarer, the first poem in the book, with Ezra Pound's 1912 translation. Pound makes an almost hypnotic use of alliteration - it's gorgeous - but his chosen words are often obscure and archaic. In Finch's version, the sense comes through much more clearly, while the rhythm is reliable in both. ( )
1 vote bezoar44 | Jun 7, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375712488, Hardcover)

This comprehensive and joyous celebration of metered verse—from Shakespeare to slam poetry—brings together some of the best rhythmic lines in literature.

After a century dominated by free verse, there is a new excitement about rediscovering poetry's ancient musical and performative roots. Iambic pentameter is the most familiar meter for most readers, but it only scratches the surface of the extraordinary diversity of rhythmic patterns that poets have employed over the ages. That astonishing variety is fully explored in this one-of-a-kind anthology, packed with great poems that beg to be read aloud. Measure for Measure is organized by meter, with brief explanatory headnotes covering accentual meter, trochees, anapests, dactyls, iambs, ballad meter, and more exotic species like amphibrachs, dipodics, hendecasyllabics, sapphics, and more. The entrancing examples of each meter are drawn from a wide range of poetic traditions, from Ovid and Sappho to Shakespeare and Milton, encompassing the Victorians, the Romantics, ballads, folk songs, poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and modern-day hip hop. Whether performed aloud or enjoyed in solitude, Measure for Measure is a treat for the ear, the heart, and the mind.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 22:32:12 -0400)

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