Gift Guide

Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $3.21   
  • New (3) from $21.27   
  • Used (9) from $3.21   
Sending request ...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The quaint study of poetic rhythm and meter, called prosody, seldom attracts much light. The province of scholars and bewildered grad students, prosody has its few classics texts-by Lord Saintsbury, Paul Fussel, Harvey Gross, Annie Finch-and its own rarefied nomenclature, much of it still carrying signs of its Greek origins: iambs, trochees, anapests; pentameters etc. But judging by this book, it seems there is something afoot in the study of meter. Editor Baker (After the Reunion) circulated an essay by poet and teacher Robert Wallace to 14 poets, an essay that put forth 10 points for clarifying and simplifying the study of English meter. Wallace's points mostly derive from his single observation that all English meter is iambic-that is, in a rising rhythm-and that anything noniambic is built from substitutions over an iambic beat. He also tosses out two of the four traditional kinds of meter-syllabic (counting syllables, la Marianne Moore) and quantitative (a peculiar holdover from Greek poetry, where long and short vowels were counted). There are varying degrees of dissent and consent among the 14 respondents, with Eavan Boland, Annie Finch and Dana Gioia mostly dissenting, Charles O. Hartman and Robert Hass mostly consenting. The other contributors are Rachel Hadas, Margaret Holley, John Frederick Nims, David J. Rothman, Timothy Steele, Lewis Turco, Barry Weller, Richard Wilbur and Susanne Woods. The essays without exception are lively and entertaining; the jousting atmosphere carries the day. Altogether, one can't help but be impressed by the level of engagement the poets have with such technical issues, and the passion with which they argue their points. A provocative read and a fine resource for all working and would-be poets. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Free verse, contends poet Steele, has become a sort of Frankenstein's monster: the instigators of the modern, nonmetrical revolution in poetry expected free verse to be a ``temporary expedient,'' a salutary but transient antidote to the florid idiom of late Victorian poetry. Instead, ``having claimed special liberties for themselves, they found it difficult to persuade their followers to adopt a more restrained approach,'' and free verse has been the poetic orthodoxy for over a century. From Aristotle to Eliot, Steele surveys in a forthright and limpid style the history of the distinction between poetry and prose. He shows how the Modernists misconstrued the dicta of earlier poetic revolutionaries, identified Victorian diction with meter, and deposed them simultaneously. This is a judicious and intelligent appeal for a revival of metrical verse.-- Jeffrey R. Luttrell, Youngstown State Univ., Ohio
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557281265
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1990
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 5.57 (w) x 8.41 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)