More on Metrics – 2

[Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco, 1956 – Photograph by Harry Redl]

Allen Ginsberg continues, lecturing his Naropa students on metrics

AG: “Moloch who’s eyes….. da da-da da, da-da da da , da-da da ,da-da da-da da, da-da.. And if you have a gang of choruses going bop-pa-pa-bom, bop-pa-pa-bom, you’ve got something very powerful going on And so, in.. without knowing it, just intuitively, I was using choriambic and variations of choriambic meters, in the Moloch section of “Howl” – “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – (da-da da da-da da da-da da da-da) – “thousand-blind-windows”, “thousand-blind-wind..” “Moloch-who’s-eyes-are-a-thous-and-blind-wind-ows” – So it’s a combination of choriambic … Read More

More Detour on Metrics – (Longfellow)



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

AG: But (Henry Wadsworth) Longfellow, interestingly enough, (and) (Thomas) Campion, in the sixteenth Century tried out quantitative verse forms just to see if it could be done in English. Then, in the nineteenth-century, a whole raft of poets, in the mid nineteenth-century also tried out these rhythms more with an emphasis on the accentual stress part rather than on the quantitative. So there are great poems by (Algernon) Swinburne, (Alfred Lord) Tennyson (who was a fantastic prosodist, who knew all the different rhythms) – Swinburne, Tennyson, and, in America, … Read More

Expansive Poetics – 29 (Longfellow’s Metrics)

Autographs:Authors, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Autograph Manuscript Poem Signed."Thou, too, Sail on, O Ship of State!" One page, 7"...

[“Thou too, Sail on, O ship of State..” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) autographed manuscript]

[“The degredation of life in America” – William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) annotated typescript –  c.Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale, Connecticut ]

Student: Did they [the early American modernists] manage to do it? (find a way of measuring American verse)?

AG: Yes, I think (William Carlos) Williams did. There were a number of people working on this problem at the time who were friends – William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle, and Marianne Moore, altogether went to the same school … Read More