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« Contextual drift | Main | Reading list »

April 23, 2004



are you a speed reader? I'm impressed and almost exhausted by your acquisitions lists...though I always add a title or two to my own "someday" reading list...


How was the Steele controversial -- and what were your thoughts?


Mel: I do read quite fast, which is useful when you've got a stack of triple-deckers to get through :)

Annam: Steele argues that there's something unique about the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century "revolt against meter": instead of simply attacking "dated idiom and subject matter" (8), modern poets launched an all-out assault against metrical form itself. While Steele argues that, locally speaking, this attack on meter is anti-Victorian, he also shows that it has affinities with a number of debates in classical and Renaissance poetics. (IIRC, at least one of Steele's degrees is in classics.) Steele, a so-called "New Formalist" poet himself, gets onto controversial territory when he argues that the legacy of modernist free verse has been "recycled novelty" (25). Indeed, Steele claims that the free verse movement has not created a "new metric" (292), but instead collapsed upon itself. In his conclusion, Steele argues that contemporary free verse poets have come dangerously close to losing touch with the metrical tradition altogether.

[Quick disclaimer: Steele is an old friend of Dad the Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt; I met him once, about six years ago.]

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