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Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt against Meter

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Timothy Steele's excellent book is not a formalist manifesto but an even-handed scholarly account of the whole background of 'free verse' poetics. -- Richard Wilbur Timothy Steele's excellent book is not a formalist manifesto but an even-handed scholarly account of the whole background of 'free verse' poetics. -- Richard Wilbur


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Timothy Steele's excellent book is not a formalist manifesto but an even-handed scholarly account of the whole background of 'free verse' poetics. -- Richard Wilbur Timothy Steele's excellent book is not a formalist manifesto but an even-handed scholarly account of the whole background of 'free verse' poetics. -- Richard Wilbur

30 review for Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt against Meter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    This book is both an objective account of the creation of modernist poetry and a refutation of its premises. Steele goes to great lengths, however, to take the arguments of the great modernists seriously, constantly citing from the manifestoes, essays, and lectures of Hulme, Ford, Pound, Eliot, Williams. The central argument of the book is that the decoupling of verse and poetry, where the former is seen as an option and the latter as the essence of the art, led to the deterioration of our moder This book is both an objective account of the creation of modernist poetry and a refutation of its premises. Steele goes to great lengths, however, to take the arguments of the great modernists seriously, constantly citing from the manifestoes, essays, and lectures of Hulme, Ford, Pound, Eliot, Williams. The central argument of the book is that the decoupling of verse and poetry, where the former is seen as an option and the latter as the essence of the art, led to the deterioration of our modern understanding of literature, and only through a revival of the classical notion of verse and poetry being one in the same can we hope overcome this "cult of the new." Steele shows through a long, genealogical analysis of the concept of verse, extending back through the Romanticists to the Renaissance, and back from them to the Romans and their interpretations of Aristotle's Poetics, how this distinction of verse/poetry made by Eliot and Pound is the result of a series of misreadings going all the way back to the origins of poetry. The book has several minor arguments that continually reappear throughout it, such as how the "quarrel of the ancients and moderns" from the last several centuries created a paranoia about science's domination of intellectual progress, and how all of the modernists felt that their experimentation with verse was the aesthetic answer to modern science. The popularization of the novel also shares an important part the story of modernism, seeing as Pound's statement that poetry had to now "compete" with the increasing relevance of that long prose form informs his decisions to "heave" over the iamb and strive for something more prosaic. Steele is a very learned man, and the depth of his thought definitely warrants a look at some of his own poetry, written in the "New Formalist" style began in the 1980s. A great contemporary mind.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peter Crofts

    I found this hard to put down. When's the last time you heard that said about an academic text? Steele is a very precise writer with a real sense of forward momentum. Perhaps his writing of poetry is the reason. This is a book as much about modern art in general as poetry specifically. Such topics as poetry as experiment would appeal to anyone interested in why so much of early 20th century's art feels so astringent. The anxiety produced in poets by the rise to dominance of prose fiction in the I found this hard to put down. When's the last time you heard that said about an academic text? Steele is a very precise writer with a real sense of forward momentum. Perhaps his writing of poetry is the reason. This is a book as much about modern art in general as poetry specifically. Such topics as poetry as experiment would appeal to anyone interested in why so much of early 20th century's art feels so astringent. The anxiety produced in poets by the rise to dominance of prose fiction in the 19th century would appeal to many beyond fans of poetry as well. Well worth the time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Klawitter

    This book made me realize that I'm a half-assed formalist poet at best. This book made me realize that I'm a half-assed formalist poet at best.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Crucial resource on form and poetics

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Rosa

    An excellent account of how "free verse" became the primary form of contemporary poetry. An excellent account of how "free verse" became the primary form of contemporary poetry.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Toni Seger

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hugo

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christian

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peter Saint-andre

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Kennedy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ron

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hiram Diaz III

  17. 4 out of 5

    James

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Chandler

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Golden

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ann Michael

  21. 5 out of 5

    Minotaur Mangum

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zach

  24. 5 out of 5

    ShinEnnui

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paolo

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bekah

  28. 4 out of 5

    TJ

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Goldston

  30. 5 out of 5

    H

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