15 August 2007

Mary Kinzie

[from Mary Kinzie's A Poet's Guide to Poetry, 1999]

Metrical “correctness,” which leads Surrey to pile one closed pentameter line upon another, does not insure good poetry (and the Surrey versions of many Wyatt works seem padded out — note the frequency of doubled phrases linked by and), just as metrical “incorrectness” does not absolutely diminish a fine poem, although it makes the job riskier . . . Of course, meter that always limps and lurches may irk the reader and distract the writer ar the wrong moment. The middle ground may yield greater success — lines, that is to say, in which neither is the variation so wild as to cancel out the background music of metrical expectation, nor the metrical ground base so rigid as to silence all departures from the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables.

A Poet's Guide to Poetry (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)

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