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Showing posts from March, 2013

Question Two Part Three

I want to start any discussion of “formalism” with the axiom that I do not believe in “free verse” as such. “Verse Libre” is a term initially conceived as reactionary. That is to say, this verse would have nothing from which to liberate itself were it not for the overwhelmingly long tradition of metrical poetry. Williams, for one, said that he did not write “free verse” but that his lines were composed to the music and measure of American speech. In his view, Whitman’s “free verse” was a failed experiment; a loosely structured mess of unmetered lines that did nothing to address what WCW saw as the fundamental problem of re-structuring American poetry. That said, I don’t necessarily believe that Whitman’s poetry was un-metered, but that it was composed to the measure and music of an antebellum southern orator. For me, the notion that a writer who has discarded received forms is not a formal writer is patently absurd. If a writer of free verse is unaware of how his decision of…