all the fun's in how you say a thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versificationby Timothy Steele
Pub. Date: 04/28/1999
Publisher: Ohio University Press
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, and 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.
- Ohio University Press
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- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)
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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.
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.