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 # 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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in verse # 19 : a hideous and intolerable allegory

One of the books I took with me to Seoul, Randy Lopez goes home,[i] proves that allegory and fable are alive and well in twenty-first century American literature.  Two newspaper clippings I’ve been carrying around since May 8th prove that … Continue reading

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in verse # 18 : a monstrous fable

Like many a medieval manuscript, Piers the plowman has no title as such.  Walter W. Skeat, who gave it that title, notes, however, that, in the manuscript he used as the basis for his Oxford edition, “we find here [in … Continue reading

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in verse # 17 : a fair field full of folk

I could hardly call my younger self a political junkie, and I would never claim that I had a sophisticate’s understanding of poetry in elementary school.  I tried, and tried again, as often as I could, to understand how poems … Continue reading

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in verse # 16 : rime royal

In “The horrors of the German language,” chapter 8 of his Words and rules, Steven Pinker reminds us that “no one is biologically disposed to speak a particular language.  The experiments called immigration and conquest, in which children master languages … Continue reading

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