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January 23, 2009

Comments

Vance Maverick

You're right, there are lines in which it's hard not to hear the pentameter -- though I'm not sure how she decided which ones. (Compare "When I heard the Learn'd Astronomer", where it's the punchline.)

No question she uses enjambed vs. end-stopped decisively. But again you can't hear it when she reads. Some poets (Creeley, I think) treat it consistently as a pause, but she doesn't (or rather, she puts big pauses in everywhere, so you can't distinguish the line-ends.

Vance Maverick

Sorry, mangled that last thought. Creeley (like others, I think) always paused at line ends, when reading out loud. Thus, there was an audible effect to correspond to the visual break.

bianca steele

Vance,
I was under the impression poets always paused slightly at line ends. I heard Alexander as reading a sequence of very short lines, which is what I’d expected to hear, and was surprised when I saw the printed text. I suppose it’s possible she read very slowly in order to counteract the effect of echoes up and down the Mall. I don’t know whether an analysis assuming Alexander uses enjambment in the way Mary Kinzie describes would ultimately work out.

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