Winter 1958 • Vol. XX No. 1 Nonfiction |

Prosody and Tone: The “Mathematics” of Marianne Moore

Robert Beloof PROSODY AND TONE: THE "MATHEMATICS" OF MARIANNE MOORE CRITICS seldom mention, and almost never systematically discuss, a poet's prosody (what, after all, is to be gained by facing the fact that for some reason Yeats minded his length of line, the regularity of his stanza, like the meanest newspaper versifier?). Yet certain few poets almost from the first attract especial notice to their prosody, though the comments on them seem often to be half-truths, hallowed by usage, or perceptions whose cause is ill-traced. Those who hiave read some of the comments on Marianne Moore's poetry will recall a constant mention of her syllabic prosody (line length determined by count of syllables). Critics are likely to speak of the tautness of her form, the precision of her sensibility. The word "mathematic" has even been used by Randall Jarrell in "The Humble Animal," Kenyon Review, April 1953. While one certainly agrees that this gives an accurate sense of that ineffable quality tone

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In Defense of Allegory

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Robert Beloof PROSODY AND TONE: THE "MATHEMATICS" OF MARIANNE MOORE CRITICS seldom mention, and almost never systematically discuss, a poet's prosody (what, after all, is to be gained by facing […]

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