Monday, January 29, 2007

How to Read a Poem Part 2

Terry Eagleton's The Times column continues with the second part on rhyme and metre discussing rhyme giving examples from Pope, of true rhyme and from Wilfred Owen of para-rhyme and the effects of order or dissonance that these examples demonstrate to the reader. Eagleton goes on to elaborate on metre, explaining how the line length and the stressed syllables adds a rhythm, which in turn compounds the effect that rhyme is setting up in the first place. But it's not just the rhythm of a regular beat, explains Eagleton; he adds in the variable of the speaking voice and how that can escalate a poem into an additional realm, depending on what way the voice is used.

What I like about the article is that he explains in plain terms what is going on in the examples, but also how the particular effect is created, which in turn adds more depth and complexity to the example allowing a fuller appreciation of the writer's skills. That book of his is definitely going to be bought, when I get paid!

6 comments:

Minx said...

This looks worth a gawp. I think I said that before but blogger ate my....

Atyllah said...

A critical point - too often when being "forced" to "study" poetry one forgets about the dramatic role voice plays.

Rob said...

"That book of his is definitely going to be bought, when I get paid!"

Me too. Although I've just been paid today so I no longer have an excuse.

Ben Wilkinson said...

I haven't read much of Eagleton's recently, Barbara, so thanks for bringing this to light. I imagine you will have, but if you haven't read his popular overview, Literary Theory: An Introduction, it's extremely useful for those wanting to approach literature in new and exciting ways, whatever knowledge of lit. crit. the reader has.

Cailleach said...

I have it Ben, and I used it quite a bit last year in my studies. I found him easy to read and digest. Many thanks for the nudge!

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