Rhyme and Meter
April 26, 2013 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Is there an article or section from a book that specifically deals with poetry's rhyme and meter?

I've see some good answers here about poetry, but I haven't seen one that deals specifically with rhyme and meter. The ideal answer would include examples of each form, notable users, and history.
posted by slowlikemolasses to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You might like Paul Fussell's book Poetic Meter and Poetic Form.
posted by RogerB at 3:03 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

The first chapter of Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled deals with Meter and Rhyme specifically, with great exercises that illustrate the different types of 'foot' etc.
posted by Chorus at 3:09 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

There's a great essay called "On Versification" by Jon Stallworthy in the back of most all of the Norton Anthologies. It also seems to be available on the Norton website (includes sections on both rhyme and meter).
posted by désoeuvrée at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2013

You might like Paul Fussell's book Poetic Meter and Poetic Form.
posted by RogerB at 6:03 PM on April 26

Seconding this, it's close to the de facto poetry book for humanities majors everywhere.
posted by four panels at 3:24 PM on April 26, 2013

John Hollander's Rhyme's Reason is a very brief, clear, inexpensive introduction I've seen used at more than one university.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:55 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing, by Timothy Steele, is also pretty good. I'd skip Lewis Turco's Book of Forms, if only because it's much more pedantic than the other books mentioned so far.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:59 PM on April 26, 2013

Pinsky's The Sound of Poetry is quite approachable. I also liked Oliver's A Poetry Handbook. Fry's The Ode Less Traveled is a wonderful introduction to poetry for people just getting started.

You can find a lot of suggestions at PFFA's Recommended Reading Lists.
posted by Think_Long at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh! Also, Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin has a really cranky appendix, "Notes on Prosody," in which he analyzes the differences between Russian and English meter. As caveats, though, I've read that it's derivative of Bely's writings on the classic Russian poets, and Nabokov seems keen to say English is less musical than Russian, though, to my memory, he never says that outright.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:13 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Versification by James McAuley was what we used in my poetry MFA program.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:43 PM on April 26, 2013

There are some rhyme-based jokes in The Sot-Weed Factor
posted by colin_l at 6:42 PM on April 26, 2013

Derek Attridge's Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction is really insane in how intuitive and... useful it is. It doesn't attempt to teach you rhyme or meter by using technical words you should "already know," it's not pedantic, and the focus is more on meter-through-rhythm (more about "feeling out" meter) than rhythm-through-meter (learning technical vocab and how one would theoretically, metrically do this or that abstract thing). My very very hardcore experimentalist poetry prof used this book so it's not all silly stuff, either. Lots of "exercises."
posted by stoneandstar at 7:31 PM on April 26, 2013

From Amazon, for the above^^: "'At long, long last here is the text that may well revolutionise our perception and analysis of poetry and shift attention from image-play and patterning to the rightful primacy of speech rhythms and metricality ... Derek Attridge propounds invaluable theoretical concepts as well as applied techniques ... Bliss!' Richard Taylor, Modern Language Review"
posted by stoneandstar at 7:32 PM on April 26, 2013

John Hollander's Rhyme's Reason, which Monsieur Caution recommended above, is a pleasure to read on the subject. Hollander introduces meter and poetic form using examples composed in those meters and forms. It's a small book, but it packs a major wallop. That'd be my first recommendation.
posted by bokane at 12:42 AM on April 27, 2013

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