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Modernism's Metronome

Meter and Twentieth-Century Poetics

Ben Glaser

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Despite meter's recasting as a rigid metronome, diverse modern poet-critics refused the formal ideologies of free verse through complex engagements with traditional versification.

In the twentieth century, meter became an object of disdain, reimagined as an automated metronome to be transcended by new rhythmic practices of free verse. Yet meter remained in the archives, poems, letters, and pedagogy of modern poets and critics. In Modernism's Metronome, Ben Glaser revisits early twentieth-century poetics to uncover a wide range of metrical practice and theory, upending our inherited story about…

Despite meter's recasting as a rigid metronome, diverse modern poet-critics refused the formal ideologies of free verse through complex engagements with traditional versification.

In the twentieth century, meter became an object of disdain, reimagined as an automated metronome to be transcended by new rhythmic practices of free verse. Yet meter remained in the archives, poems, letters, and pedagogy of modern poets and critics. In Modernism's Metronome, Ben Glaser revisits early twentieth-century poetics to uncover a wide range of metrical practice and theory, upending our inherited story about the "breaking" of meter and rise of free verse.

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Modernism's Metronome

Ben Glaser

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Reviews

Reviews

Modernism's Metronome is anything but metronomic. It's got a beat; you can dance to it.

Glaser's very structure contains an argument: we have not been paying proper attention to the writers we know, and the contemporary criticism of modernism leaves out writers like Teasdale, Douglas Johnson, Bogan, Toomer, Weldon Johnson, and Brown. Modernism's Metronome is controversial and field-changing.

Modernism's Metronome puts to rest the notion that experiments with and against meter mark progress over traditional forms associated—not coincidentally—with women and African Americans. Glaser reads US modernist poets' claims for themselves in the context of early twentieth-century literary cultures and soundscapes to reveal the continued stakes of poetic form.

Excellently researched, scintillating, and written with brio. Glaser has a sensitive ear for verse rhythm and outstanding technical prowess. This book is a major asset to modernist studies.

Whether you're interested in modernism or prosody, Modernism's Metronome is a book that must be read. Every poet knows that a poem is made of patterned syllables, and Glaser clears the way to our future by examining closely our recent past.

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
304
ISBN
9781421439525
Illustration Description
7 b&w photos, 1 chart
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Modernist Scansion: Robert Frost's Distorted Vernacular
Chapter 2. Penty Ladies: T. S. Eliot, Satire, and the Gender of Modern Meter
Chapter 3. "No Feet to Walk On"

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Modernist Scansion: Robert Frost's Distorted Vernacular
Chapter 2. Penty Ladies: T. S. Eliot, Satire, and the Gender of Modern Meter
Chapter 3. "No Feet to Walk On": Pound's Late Victorian Prosody
Chapter 4. Metristes: Formal Feeling in Sara Teasdale, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and Louise Bogan
Chapter 5. The Prosody of Passing: Jean Toomer and James Weldon Johnson
Chapter 6. Folk Iambics: Sterling Brown's Outline for the Study of the Poetry of American Negroes
Conclusion. Prosody after Form
Appendix. Scansion and Metrical Notation
Notes
Works Cited
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Ben Glaser

Ben Glaser is an assistant professor of English at Yale University. He is the coeditor of Critical Rhythm: The Poetics of a Literary Life Form.