Summer 1956 • Vol. XVIII No. 3 English Verse and What It Sounds Like |

A Note on Meter

What does meter do in a poem? It is already a kind of form before the poet begins his poem. And what happens finally to meter? Is it absorbed into the shape of the rhythm it has helped create? Or does it stubbornly maintain its own independent form even as part of the final effect? And what are the relations between the two antipodal horizons and the warm, immediate, physical, and various state of the the dynamic process which most of the time we think of as the poem itself, but which cannot alone be the poem? I cannot, of course, answer these questions, but must apply myself, as well and as reasonably as I can, to the process. That is the area where most can be known, and where most needs to be known. Still, I think it may help to ask, and remember, the more difficult questions. In the process of the poem meter, the ideal metronomic pattern, creates, or becomes, rhythm. This happens, our first and most general observation tells us, by means of the external interaction betwe

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