Author Archives: Dennis Clark

About Dennis Clark

Dennis Clark should have been locked up long ago, but since he was allowed to wed and breed, the cat is out of the bag, the toothpaste is out of the tube, the cat is pawing the toothpaste and you should be careful what you put in your mouth. Put a good poem in your mouth!

in verse # 29 : of the devil’s party

William Blake was Milton’s son.  But it was no easy birth.  In his fine article on Milton’s prosody, John Creaser describes how Milton was able to work so well within the conventions of blank verse.  Creaser begins by summarizing the … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

in verse # 28 : the pun is meatier than the surd

Sitting at home alone in bed when I was 13, and unable to go out because I was undergoing the aftermath of rheumatic fever, I entertained myself with old copies of Reader’s Digest.  One of the things I digested thoroughly … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, Mormon LitCrit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

in verse # 27 : wretched matter and lame Meter

John Milton didn’t know jack about free verse, and yet when he explicated his reason for shunning rime he sounded like he understood the reasoning of the free versifiers at the turn of the last century.  In introducing Paradise lost … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, Literary Views of Scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

in verse #26 : organ music

If the last three letters of the f-word are what seems most repellent about it — the sound of “uck” — that would explain how some other words ending that way still seem a bit odd, if not funny or … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, The Past through Literature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

in verse # 25 : intended to be read in chambers

If we call blank verse the meter of performance, as it most certainly was on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage, we may understand a little better the label “metaphysical poetry” that hangs like an albatross about John Donne’s neck, for … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

in verse # 24 : appointed to be read in churches

All poetry is appointed to be read in churches; not all verse is.  There is a long history of verse in English, in German, in Russian — probably in every language — written to be read in toilets, in taverns, … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

in verse # 23 : mighty line versus ordered speech

It was Kit Marlowe who awakened in Will Shakespeare a hunger for a dramatic speech more nearly reflecting ordinary English speech.  It was Will Shakespeare who made it possible for Kris Kristofferson to write and sing the following lyrics as … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, On-stage, Thoughts on Language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

in verse # 22 : back to blank verse

It is one of the guiding principles of in verse that verse should always be read aloud.  This includes Shakespeare and Isaiah, Dante and Jeremiah, Milton and John of Patmos.  It includes Pope and Chaucer, Beowulf and Homer, Dryden and … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse, On-stage, Personal Narratives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

in verse # 21 : unblank verse

The imp of the perverse — a constant companion — suggested as a title for this installment “blankety-blank verse,” but as its topic is the Elizabethan sonnet, the title above presented itself as an amiable contrast to my last installment.  … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

in verse # 20 : blank verse

Blank verse — the unrhymed iambic pentameter so brilliantly deployed by Shakespeare in his later plays — is an invention of the English renaissance, and specifically of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-47), who used it to revise and strengthen … Continue reading

Posted in In Verse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments