An Annotated Checklist of English Versification

by Jeffrey Woodward

Prefatory Remarks

The chief intent of the following abbreviated bibliography is to provide guidance and direction to the young student or apprentice poet who wants to explore the often baffling labyrinth of prosody and versification studies. I assume that most graduate students and mature poets have a familiarity at least with the titles and authors, if not with the contents, of the volumes cited. The annotations that accompany the entries, therefore, are meant to serve the neophyte and not to irritate the already initiated.

Because even this general introduction proved longer than anticipated, difficult choices were made and some items deleted from the list that, perhaps, might be of use. One will note, for example, that there are no books listed on long established forms such as the heroic couplet or sonnet nor on many "imported" poetic forms that entered English practice via French and Italian or, more recently, China and Japan. This omission is not due to any lack of availability of good studies but to my reasoning that many of these meters and forms were adequately covered in other titles on the list. Linguistic studies in prosody (of which there are many) were deliberately eschewed. Their theoretical and taxonomic ambitions lie largely outside of the realm of the poet's practical use.

Another class of books omitted, unfortunately, point to this writer's own shortcomings. These are books of relatively recent origin that I am aware of and have cause to suspect might be highly pertinent but, for one reason or another, have been unable to read. I might cite here, only for sake of example, Annie Finch's After New Formalism (1999), Timothy Steele's Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter (1990), or Derek Attridge and Thomas Carper's Meter and Meaning: Introduction to Rhythm in Poetry (2003).

This checklist is divided, for convenience of use, into the following six categories: 1) general reference, including compendiums of critical articles; 2) historical studies; 3) prosody theory and criticism; 4) versification manuals, viz., "how-to" guides to the writing of meter; 5) anthologies of formal verse; 6) exotics, i.e., books on imported meters that are in use in English but not yet "naturalized."

I. General Reference

Baker, David, ed. Meter in English: A Critical Engagement. University of Arkansas Press, 1996.

The premise for this book is an academic provocation: a manifesto of sorts by the poet and professor Robert Wallace. Entitled "Meter in English," Wallace's essay proposes a radically reductive revision of the common understanding of the English accentual-syllabic foot-system as well as questioning the existence of accentual, syllabic or quantitative meters. Fourteen responses by various academics and poets follow. Some are more prickly and emotional than well-reasoned. Others point convincingly to the contradictory results of Wallace's proposals. Among the more readable and useful essays are those of Annie Finch on non-iambic meters, Timothy Steele with his very cogent remarks on meter and rhythm, Lewis Turco on "Verse vs. Prose / Prosody vs. Meter" and David Rothman's perspicacious defense of the common understanding and his intelligent echoing of the oft-repeated warnings of the "terminological menace" which besets English prosodic theory. This book presumes a broad acquaintance with theory and is likely of little use to the beginner.

Brogan, Terry V. F. English Versification, 1570-1980: A Reference Guide with a Global Appendix. John Hopkins University Press, 1981.

The most extensive bibliography available on the main versification systems not only of English but of continental European languages as well. An indispensable research guide.

Gross, Harvey, ed. The Structure of Verse. Fawcett Premier, 1966; Ecco Press, 1980, Reprint.

The chief value of this anthology of essays on prosody is that it collects, under one cover, not only pertinent excerpts from volumes widely available, such as the chapter on meter from Wellek and Warren's Theory of Literature (1942) or that on the foot system from R.M. Alden's English Verse (1902, 1930), but also penetrating essays otherwise very difficult to find. Three such essays are worth singling out: 1) Otto Jespersen's "Notes on Metre" which, in 1900, first formulated a theory of relative stress; 2) Yvor Winters' "The Audible Reading of Poetry" which extends Jespersen's model of four degrees of stress to one in which stress is viewed as infinitely variable but dependent upon the metrical context while, simultaneously, making an impassioned plea for greater poetic understanding by the employment of "a formal reading which avoids dramatic declamation"; Robert Bridges' "A Letter to a Musician on English Prosody" which, under an epistolary fiction, neatly distinguishes between meter and rhythm while addressing their impact upon meaning. Additional contributions by such distinguished critics and poets as I.A. Richards, Robert Graves, Ezra Pound, Theodore Roethke, Northrup Frye and others make this volume invaluable.

Preminger, Alexander, ed. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton University Press, Third Edition, 1993.

A standard reference since its introduction in 1965, the 3rd edition now contains more than 1000 items on the theory, history, technique and criticism of poetry with abbreviated bibliographic entries appended to the more substantial entries. It shares the virtues and vices of its genre, viz., in aspiring to a comprehensive survey of the field, it nearly achieves its goal but, unfortunately, often by way of gross simplification or over-reaching conclusions of intricate issues. Nevertheless, it is a valuable resource for factual information and a reliable guide to in-depth information elsewhere, especially for the beginner.

II. Historical Studies

Attridge, Derek. Well-Weighed Syllables: Elizabethan Verse in Classical Metres. Cambridge University Press, 1975.

An historical study of the scholastic movement during Elizabethan times to introduce classical quantitative measures as the standard for English versification. Attridge is one of the finest prosodic scholars of our time and, while this detailed study may be of greater interest to students of Elizabethan culture or of prosodic theory than to practicing poets, his clear delineations of the relations between quantity and accent in speech and versification are highly relevant to the problems of verse composition today.

Bridges, Robert Seymour. Milton's Prosody with a Chapter on Accentual Verse. Oxford, 1921.

Former British poet-laureate and first editor of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Bridges here assayed perhaps the most thorough study of iambic meter, especially with relation to blank verse and elision, ever undertaken. The concluding essay attempts to formulate a firm foundation for accentual meters. While written in the author's elegantly clear and balanced prose style, his accentual arguments are not wholly convincing, due, in large measure, to his insistence on identifying and providing a nomenclature for a number of accentual "feet" which the logic of his theory imposes upon him. The body of the book, however, is essential reading for any student of Milton or practitioner of iambic pentameter.

Gross, Harvey. Sound and Form in Modern Poetry: A Study of Prosody from Thomas Hardy to Robert Lowell. University of Michigan Press, 1965.

The prefatory chapters on "Prosody as Rhythmic Cognition" and "The Scansion of the English Meters" constitute a concise overview of the main points of consensus and controversy in modern prosody while advancing the author's view that "prosody is meaning." The remainder of the book is devoted to an in-depth metrical analysis of a number of major poets with chapters on Pound, Eliot, Crane and Stevens that are particularly rewarding. The work of a very sensitive and insightful critic, Sound and Form is very accessible to the beginner and has much to offer the advanced student as well.

Saintsbury, George. Historical Manual of English Prosody. Macmillan, 1926; Schocken Books, Reprint, 1966.

Designed by the author as a "popular" abridgement of his three volume study, A History of English Prosody (1910), this often irritating book is still useful due to its broad historical knowledge of English verse and very perceptive scansions of the poems under discussion. The 1966 reprint has an introduction by Harvey Gross which sympathetically "corrects" many of the pitfalls of Saintsbury's theoretical pronouncements.

Schipper, Jakob. A History of English Versification. Oxford Clarendon Press, 1910; AMS Press, Reprint, 1971; University Press of the Pacific, Reprint, 1980.

A translation of the German philologist's abridgement of his original three-volume Englische Metrik, this History surveys English metrical practice from the Old English period through the 19th century. It proceeds in the admirable scholastic manner of a thorough taxonomy of verse forms and stanzas while very carefully defining its terms upon close introduction. The descriptions and definitions of the chapters on Old English alliterative verse, on verse rhythm and on the metrical treatment of syllables are still valid nearly 100 years later. Books II and III, which systematically define and discuss stanza structure, may be the most valuable portions of this book for the contemporary reader. A useful reference for the teacher of poetry and the practicing poet.

III. Prosody Theory and Criticism

Attridge, Derek. Rhythms of English Poetry. Longman, 1982.

Attridge comes closer in this volume to a lucid and comprehensive theory of rhythm than does any other metrist I am aware of. Much of the discussion, however, relies upon and assumes some familiarity with linguistic studies of prosody and Attridge, of necessity, must adopt much of the linguist's terminology and notational schematics to conduct his exposition. For the reader with the prerequisite knowledge, much can be gleaned here but the volume is likely closed to the beginner.

Attridge, Derek. Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

A "popularization," to a degree, of Attridge's much more difficult Rhythms of English Poetry, the underlying theory is the same but the author has adopted a more "user-friendly" vocabulary and metrical notation system. Attridge also allows himself to indulge in broader digressions on contemporary developments, such as his scansion of a rap song as Old English strong-stress meter or his detailed and sympathetic recognition of the various "free verse" and non-metrical forms. One of the more unique features of this book is the extensive treatment given to "phrasal movement," i.e., to the important role that syntax and meaning play in a poem's "varying sense of pace and onward impetus, and of the different degrees and types of pause and closure." Unlike Attridge's earlier Well-weighed Syllables or Rhythms of English Poetry, this book offers much not only to the advanced student of prosody but to the beginner as well.

Finch, Annie. The Ghost of Meter: Culture and Prosody in American Free Verse. University of Michigan Press, New Edition, 2000.

A basic premise of this well-written volume is to read "free verse" critically, not as a mode of composition that is in direct opposition to meter but as a mode best comprehended in its varying relation of approach to or withdrawal from available metrical norms. Some of Finch's more insightful remarks are made in her critiques of how Dickinson and Whitman, for example, prefigured such later developments as Eliot's loose adaptations of late Elizabethan dramatic blank verse. The careful reader will discover himself alternately in enthusiastic agreement or incited to objection but will rarely discover himself bored by this study. Finch's book would be a nice companion to Hartman's Free Verse cited below.

Fussell, Paul. Poetic Meter and Poetic Form. McGraw-Hill, 1979.

First published in 1965, Fussell's book has been recognized as a standard in metrical criticism ever since, despite the fact that it is nearly a half century old. Fussell speaks cogently of the relationship of form and meaning, offers scansions that convincingly convey the points that he wishes to make and, in general, covers most of the basic issues in a very brief but relatively comprehensive text. Hence, his enduring popularity.

Hartman, Charles O. Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody. Northwestern University Press, 1980.

The most thorough and conscientious discussion of free verse with which I am acquainted. One will find much to assent to here as well as much to object to, but one is unlikely to question Hartman's sincerity or intelligence. If I had to refer the reader to one book-length study of free verse, Hartman's book would be it.

Lewis, C.S. Selected Literary Essays. Cambridge University Press, 1969.

Notable for the inclusion of three cogent essays on metrical matters. A close reading of "The Alliterative Metre" will save a student the labor of reading many laborious academic tomes as Lewis defines the meter clearly and forthrightly in just a few pages. A critical reassessment of the post-Chaucerian period, "The Fifteenth Century Heroic Line," convincingly argues that the poets of the period were not engaged in inept attempts to compose iambic pentameters that would not scan but were actually composing poems in the native accentual meter that preceded Chaucer's importation of French and Italian models; this will probably not rehabilitate the reputations of Hoccleve, Barclay, Lydgate and Hawes, but it is still interesting reading. A very short essay, "Metre," very sensibly argues that "much metrical controversy is concerned merely with nomenclature" and makes an impassioned plea for allowing ourselves to be guided by the concept of "utility." While Lewis admits that it is truly a license to adopt the terminology and foot-system of classical Greek and Latin prosody for English, he points out that alternative descriptions are no less cumbersome or controversial and that, at least, the classical definitions have the distinct advantage of consensus: everyone comprehends the meaning of "foot" and every metrical phenomenon can be reasonably defined with the classical nomenclature.

Steele, Timothy. All The Funs In How You Say A Thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification. Ohio University Press, 1999.

Incisive, enlightened and gracefully composed, Steele's volume delights while instructing. He clearly belongs to a metrical tradition and outlook that begins in America with Yvor Winters as is signaled early in his opening chapter when he argues that "poets achieve variety in traditional verse not by 'breaking' or 'departing from' metrical pattern, but rather by using the variable rhythms of speech to modulate the pattern from within." His presupposition that "meter can—provide a writer with the opportunity to render perceptions with a precision unattainable by other means" comes directly from the Winters' playbook. Because the clear distinction between meter as a paradigm of the verse line and rhythm as "realization in speech of this pattern" is central to Steele's view, he devotes the early part of his book to clearly defining these matters. Steele's sympathetic readings of alliterative, quantitative and syllabic meters as well as free verse are very sensitively written and aimed neither at an acquiescent and uncritical acceptance nor at a willful and self-assured blanket dismissal. While Steele is clearly within the Winters' school, he is not slavishly imitative in his criticism but is able to show a good deal of independence. In the end, his book is not theory but solid practical criticism aimed, as Steele himself remarks, at the young reader who is looking for guidance.

Thompson, John. The Founding of English Metre. Columbia University Press, 1961.

A historical study of the development of modern English versification from Sir Thomas Wyatt through Sir Philip Sidney, Thompson's explanation of the longevity of iambic meter in English versification centers upon the tension between the metrical paradigm and the verse rhythm whose phonological character acts as the meter's counterpoint. The critical language, thereby, owes much to the earlier distinctions of Hopkins and to their adoption by John Crowe Ransom and the New Critics.

Winters, Yvor. The Function of Criticism: Problems and Exercises. Alan Swallow, 1957.

Of particular importance due to inclusion of the essays, "The Audible Reading of Poetry," which is discussed above in the entry for Gross' The Structure of Verse, and "The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins." The second essay is at once an appreciation and condemnation of Hopkins' poetry but affords a very astute analysis of Hopkins' theory and practice of "sprung rhythm."

Winters, Yvor. In Defense of Reason. University of Denver Press, 1947; Swallow Press, Reprint, 1987.

Collects under one cover four different difficult to find earlier volumes of the author, only one of which, Primitivism and Decadence (cited below), need directly concern us.

Winters, Yvor. Primitivism and Decadence: A Study of American Experimental Poetry. Arrow Editions, 1937; Haskell House, Reprint, 1969.

One of the earlier critical attempts to come to terms with the innovations of Ezra Pound, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot, it contains an interesting taxonomy of "structural methods independent of meter," such as repetition, exposition, narrative, pseudo-reference, qualitative progression, double mood and so on, with the author's acknowledged borrowings from the earlier study of Kenneth Burke on the subject. The true core of the book, for our present purposes however, lies in Chapter V, "The Influence of Meter on Poetic Convention," which argues, paradoxically, that the poet discovers his greatest liberties while working within the constraints of a strict meter, like iambic pentameter, where even the slightest variance from the metrical norm enables the poet to signal the conceptual or perceptual "argument" as well as the accompanying emotive content. The novel theory of scansion of free verse, wherein the "foot" is defined as consisting of one primary accented syllable and any number or lack thereof of secondary accented and unaccented syllables, is a matter I should like to sympathize with but cannot. Beyond the flawed theory, however, the book itself is invaluable but probably only generally available in the reprint of In Defense of Reason cited above.

IV. Versification Manuals

Beum, Robert and Karl Shapiro. A Prosody Handbook. Harper & Row, 1965; Dover Publications, Reprint, 2006.

An excellent introductory manual for the beginning student or poet with relatively thorough treatment of such fundamentals as stress, quantity, rising and falling feet and the nature of the line. Careful attention is given to distinguishing between meter and rhythm in a manner that may be more directly accessible to the general reader than are the more elaborate theoretical arguments of some of the authors cited above. The section on rhyme quality is quite adequate. An abbreviated discussion of such temporal factors as diaeresis, caesura, hiatus, quantity and "sprung rhythm" (the conjunction of two or more successive stressed syllables), however, leaves much to desire and requires the student to supplement what might be gained here with more thorough sources. Even with such shortcomings, the book is still a very practical introduction to versification.

Corn, Alfred. The Poem's Heartbeat: A Manual of Poetry. Story Lines Press, Revised Edition, 1997.

A reasonable exposition of the basics, but with so many competitors on the market now, this handbook has little to offer than cannot be found elsewhere, unless one wishes to commend the author's uncommon tolerance, for the average metrist, of quantitative and syllabic meters as well as free verse. Unfortunately, his tolerance does not extend to a careful consideration of how these systems differ from iambics in terms of greater promise or greater limitation, so that in his attempt to please all camps, he leaves everyone uninstructed.

Fenton, James. An Introduction to English Poetry. Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, Reprint, 2004.

A brief examination by an able poet, Fenton is on solid ground and a reliable guide for the beginner as long as he is engaged in an exposition of iambics and the foot-system. Once he broaches a discussion of syllabic, accentual or quantitative meters (or of "free verse"), however, the common sense simplicity of his approach no longer supports him and his casual and self-assured dismissals of these rival prosodies is as unenlightening for the reader as they are of little credit to their author.

Hobsbaum, Philip. Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form. Routledge, 1996.

Another relatively recent contender in the great prosody manual race, Hobsbaum's work competently discusses the basics, like Corn, and while showing a tolerance for syllabics and free verse, like Corn, Hobsbaum actually has something substantial to say on the subject. However, he is irritating in a way that Corn is not. Most of Hobsbaum's discussion of syllabic meter and much of his discussion of American free verse (of Stevens, Eliot and Williams in particular) relies very heavily upon the work of Yvor Winters; Hobsbaum cites the same poems, offers a similar analysis and even rephrases several of Winters' conclusions. The problem is that Winters is nowhere credited nor does he appear in Hobsbaum's bibliography.

Hollander, John. Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse. Yale University Press, Third Edition, 2001.

A popular and easy-to-read basic introduction to English versification that has the virtue of avoiding many common errors while employing good examples from the literature to illustrate each form under discussion.

Malof, Joseph. A Manual of English Meters. Indiana University Press, 1970.

Affords a very detailed discussion of stress verse and, in particular, of the folk meters and dipodies native to the English tradition. Such versification is rarely discussed at length in most prosody manuals which fact alone makes the study worth citing. Malof's scansions of his sample verses are illustrative and unexceptional but his exposition is encumbered unnecessarily by an idiosyncratic terminology and a set of notational symbols that run counter to common usage, thus rendering the book useless for the average reader.

McAuley, James. Versification: A Short Introduction. Michigan State Press, Reprint, 1983.

McAuley's exposition is a model of clarity and economy while his scansions of verses are delightfully sensitive. The fine distinctions he makes between metrical and speech stress, caesura and pause and countless other minutiae of versification makes this work one of the most concise and intelligent introductions to the subject available. He comprehends very acutely that not only is the degree of accent of a given syllable, for purposes of versification, infinitely variable and conditioned only by its immediate metrical context but that this law is applicable as well to pauses within the verse, to the duration or quantity of a syllable and to the enjambment or end-stop at the close of each verse. A marvelous achievement in a book that falls short of 90 pages.

Turco, Lewis. The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics. University Press of New England, Third Edition, 2000.

First published in 1968, Turco's manual has become something of a standard in the field and is a likely candidate for the student's first introduction to prosody. The Book of Forms, like its various rivals, comes with strengths and weaknesses. One of Turco's strengths is the "Handbook of Poetics" which constitutes the first third of his volume. Here, beyond the standard definitions of accent, quantity, metrical feet and so on that one meets in every "how to" poetry manual, the curious reader will become acquainted with rhyme quality and proportion plus an exhaustive catalogue of rhetorical devices, material usually skipped entirely or mentioned only in passing. Another strength lies in the second part of the book, the "Book of Forms" proper, which sets out to catalogue every verse form and stanza while, simultaneously, providing a schematic diagram of the form plus example verses in the form. What are the weaknesses, then? First, Turco's encyclopedic ambitions lead him to indulge in over-simplification in his discussion of some of the more exotic and imported forms. One example is the classical Welsh englyn unodl union stanza where Turco reduces the intricate syllabic and accentual requirements of this quatrain, along with its interior alliterative and rhyming requirements, to a simple matter of a syllable count and end rhyme. Another example is his discussion of Sapphics where he replaces the quantitative requirements of the measure with strictly accentual ones to arrive at nothing but a kind of patchwork logaoedic falling rhythm without distinction. In conclusion, Turco's book does have its strengths and will very likely be a popular standard for many years to come. The student or practitioner of versification, however, would be well advised to check Turco's descriptions of meters, and especially of imported non-English meters, against other sources, if he wishes to proceed with confidence.

Williams, Miller. Patterns of Poetry: An Encyclopedia of Forms. Louisiana State University Press, 1986.

A no-nonsense approach to instructing the beginner on the fundamentals. As such, Williams does not seek to rival Turco's encyclopedic ambitions but merely addresses and addresses well the basic principles of versification. His book is highly readable for pleasure as well as many of the poems chosen to illustrate the forms and stanzas he discusses are contemporary in language and theme. However, as with Turco or Beum and Shapiro, the reader should not rest content with Williams' definitions but should compare them with other references.

V. Anthologies of Formal Verse

Dacey, Philip, and David Jauss, eds. Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms. Longman, 1997.

A fine collection of work by one hundred plus contemporary poets with useful appendices on meters, fixed forms and scansion. This anthology, when combined with the Strand and Boland cited below, will serve as a strong introduction to traditional and contemporary formal poetry for the student.

Finch, Annie, ed. A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women. Story Line Press, 1994.

An interesting collection of established and younger women poets writing in meter. A prose statement or commentary from each poet accompanies her contribution. Perhaps a tone is set here when the editor writes of formal poetry as one that "foregrounds the artificial and rhetorical nature of poetic language by means of conspicuously repeated patterns." The reputations of artifice, rhetoric and "poetic" language have not fared well since Wordsworth wrote his famous preface and manifesto. One discovers a certain wariness on the part of many of the writers represented to identify themselves fully with metrical verse, a desire, perhaps, to "straddle the fence." Julia Alvarez may be representative when she speaks of meter, for example, as "territory that has been colonized, but that you can free. A voice is going to inhabit that form that was barred from entering before." The implication is that there is a perception that form is at once a promised land from which one has been forcibly barred entry and, conversely, a penal colony for the compulsory "rehabilitation" of the individual under the license of that alien power, tradition. Despite the obvious reservations one might hold before such views, there are exceptional poems and talents represented here and the collection is worthy of recommendation.

Finch, Annie, and Kathrine Varnes, eds. An Exaltation of Forms. University of Michigan Press, 2001.

A fascinating collection of poems interspersed with critical commentary by many contributors, the volume is organized in four sections: meters, stanzas, received forms and "principles for formal experimentation." The book delivers on its promise to survey a broad cross-section of the very diverse poetry scene today.

Jarman, Mark, and David Mason, eds. Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism. Story Line Press, 1996.

A fair introduction to the New Formalist movement and to contemporary idioms as employed in a metrical context, this anthology includes, among its contributors, such well-known figures as Dana Gioia, Marilyn Hacker, Brad Leithauser, Timothy Steele, Mary Jo Salter and Rachel Hadas.

Strand, Mark, and Eavan Boland, eds. The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. W.W. Norton & Co., New Edition, 2001.

An excellent handbook for the neophyte, each chapter of this anthology surveys a specific form (blank verse, sestina, ballad, sonnet, etc.) by offering a single page description of the metrical structure, a brief entry on the history of the form and a chronological selection of excellent poems in the given form.

VI. Exotics: Imported Meters

Conran, Tony. Welsh Verse. Seren Books / Poetry Wales Press, Ltd., 1987.

Originally published as The Penguin Book of Welsh Verse, this revised and expanded edition presents graceful translations of Welsh poetry from its earliest beginnings in the legendary Taliesin to its contemporary practitioners. There are ample selections of great medieval poets such as Dafydd ap Gwilym and Owen Gwynedd, of the oddly powerful devotional poems of Ann Griffiths and of the modern poets of the nationalist-language revival, such as Saunders Lewis and Waldo Williams. The translator also provides perhaps the ablest and readable definitions of the official twenty-four meters of classical Welsh poetry available while also explaining, in some detail, many of the extrametrical bardic rules and rhetorical practices. One can supplement Conran's pleasant book with the thorough anthologies of Joseph Clancy, Medieval Welsh Lyrics (Macmillan / St. Martin's, 1965) and Earliest Welsh Poetry (Macmillan, 1970), and attain a fairly encyclopedic knowledge of Welsh meter.

Frank, Roberta. Old Norse Court Poetry: The Dróttkvaett Stanza. Cornell University Press, 1978.

The most complete modern study in English, to my knowledge, of the intricacies of the meter, poetic diction, word order and style of the poetry of the Old Norse court. Frank's definitions are illustrated by in-depth analyses of many stanzas from the early literature. The student who is really curious and wishes to pursue these matters further might find a good complete translation of The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, the great medieval Icelandic scholar and poet, who first codified the rules of court meters; many editions, unfortunately, omit the prosody section of the work.

Halporn, James, Martin Ostwald and Thomas Rosenmeyer. The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry. Metheun and Co., 1963.

A handbook for students of classics, the descriptions and illustrations of the meters are also very useful to the poet who might wish to attempt English adaptations of hexameters, Sapphics, Alcaics or other quantitative meters.

Knott, Eleanor. Irish Classical Poetry. Cultural Relations Committee of Ireland, 1966.

This very abbreviated monograph provides, along with a history of early Irish poetry and culture, a brief description of the classical Irish meters, séadna mór and dán direach, with a serviceable explanation of the syllabic and rhyme requirements.

Martin, Hubert. Alcaeus. Twayne Publishers, 1972.

Why place a monograph on a Greek lyrical poet in a bibliography devoted to prosody? The final two chapters, "Greek Metrics and the Alcaic Stanza" and "The Meters of Alcaeus," are particularly well-written and reasoned descriptions of the Greek Aeolic meters which include Sapphics and Alcaics. Furthermore, the volume is in the Twayne series and likely available to many more would-be readers than Halporn or Raven.

Raven, D. S. Greek Metre. Faber & Faber, 1962.

A companion volume to the 1965 Latin Metre by the same author and publishing house, these books are written with an intent and clarity that matches Halporn and may easily be substituted for the above citation.



Jeffrey Woodward resides in Detroit. His poems and articles appear widely in periodicals in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia including, most recently, Acumen (England), Blue Unicorn, International Poetry Review, Poem, Re: Arts & Letters, The Christian Century, Galley Sail Review, The Hypertexts, Lines Review (Scotland), The Lyric, Envoi (Wales), Plains Poetry Journal, South Coast Poetry Journal, Studio (Australia), New Hope International (England) and many others.



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