Category Archives: In Verse

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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in verse # 15 : the alliterative resuscitation

When alliterative verse came roaring back to life in the mid-fourteenth century, it was more as a Wolfman than as a creature of some demented Frankenstein. In the century and a half between Laȝamon’s recasting of Wace’s Roman de Brut,[i] … Continue reading

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in verse # 14 : the alliterative revival

Literary wayfaring in England did not end with the Norman Conquest in 1066.  It forked, one fork following the lead of the French conquerors, the other the lead of the English conquered.  Both of these were excursions into vulgar territory

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Is There Deep Play in Heaven? Or Rest Well, Brother Swenson, Rest Well

Guest post by Tyler Chadwick. Cross-posted from A Motley Vision and from Tyler’s website. On the afternoon of the first resurrection, I want to sit on my sister May’s bench and read her new poems. So, maybe, if you’re still … Continue reading

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in verse # 13 : free verse, and bound

The observant amongst you will have had cause to wonder at Rolfe Humphries’ use of the term “free meters,” in the subtitle of his Green armor on green ground : poems in the twenty-four official Welsh meters, and some, in … Continue reading

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in verse # 12 : notes upon the staff

When I was quite young, I thought “certain” was a verb.  I was sure of this because I could think of no other reason that a choir of angels would tell a coven of shepherds that there was no well … Continue reading

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