all the fun's in how you say a thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification

Overview

Perfect for the general reader of poetry, students and teachers of literature, and aspiring poets, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing is a lively and comprehensive study of versification by one of our best contemporary practitioners of traditional poetic forms. Emphasizing both the coherence and the diversity of English metrical practice from Chaucer’s time to ours, Timothy Steele explains how poets harmonize the fixed units of meter with the variable flow of idiomatic speech. He examines the ways in which ...

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Overview

Perfect for the general reader of poetry, students and teachers of literature, and aspiring poets, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing is a lively and comprehensive study of versification by one of our best contemporary practitioners of traditional poetic forms. Emphasizing both the coherence and the diversity of English metrical practice from Chaucer’s time to ours, Timothy Steele explains how poets harmonize the fixed units of meter with the variable flow of idiomatic speech. He examines the ways in which poets have used meter, rhyme, and stanza to communicate and enhance meaning. Steele illuminates as well many practical, theoretical, and historical issues in English prosody, without ever losing sight of the fundamental pleasures, beauties, and insights that fine poems offer us. Written lucidly, with a generous selection of helpful scansions and explanations of the metrical effects of the great poets of the English language, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing is not only a valuable handbook on technique; it is also a wide-ranging study of English verse and a mine of entertaining information for anyone wishing more fully to write, enjoy, understand, or teach poetry.

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What People Are Saying

Richard Wilbur
Steele's book has been delightful and instructive reading for me.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821412602
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Pages: 366
  • Sales rank: 951,363
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Steele is Professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles. He is the author of Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt against Meter. His collections of poetry include The Color Wheel and Sapphics and Uncertainties: Poems 1970-1986.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Metrical Norm and Rhythmical Modulation 27
Ch. 2 Scansion and Metrical Variation 52
Ch. 3 Additional Sources of Rhythmical Modulation, Including Enjambment, Caesural Pause, and Word Length 94
Ch. 4 The Story of Elision, Including the Famous Rise, Troublesome Reign, and Tragical Fall of the Metrical Apostrophe 116
Ch. 5 Boundless Wealth from a Finite Store: Meter and Grammar 151
Ch. 6 Rhyme 175
Ch. 7 Stanzas 200
Ch. 8 Trochaic and Trisyllabic Meters 221
Ch. 9 Alternative Modes of Versification in English 246
Notes 281
Glossary 307
Bibliography 339
Permissions and Copyrights 349
Index 351
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    THE maual of meter and versification

    I would definitely not recommend this book to beginners. Don't get me wrong, it's probably the best book on prosody out there, but it can be difficult reading. The book is loaded with information, and Steele's knowledge on the subject comes through. But it isn't the book I'd start with. But if you have a general idea of form and meter, then there is no better book to strengthen and teach you. Part One, on iambic verse, should be read by any serious poet. The only problem I found with the book is that Steele uses a lot of Old English, Middle English, and foreign language examples, where I think something we all can sound out would have been a better choice. Still, for anyone who is serious about poetry, this is a book that should be read and studied.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2001

    Displays a true understanding of prosody

    Outstanding discussion of rhythm and meter, which corrects many of the misunderstandings which have crept into prosodic teaching in the last century, most notably the concept that writing five iambs shows a lack of imagination, rhythmic ineptitude, or slavery to form. It does not, as Mr. Steele demonstrates.

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