Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse

Overview

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance," wrote Alexander Pope. "The dance," in the case of Oliver's brief and luminous book, refers to the interwoven pleasures of sound and sense to be found in some of the most celebrated and beautiful poems in the English language, from Shakespeare to Edna St. Vincent Millay to Robert Frost. With a poet's ear and a poet's grace of expression, Oliver shows what makes a metrical poem work - and enables readers, as only she can, to "enter the thudding

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Overview

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance," wrote Alexander Pope. "The dance," in the case of Oliver's brief and luminous book, refers to the interwoven pleasures of sound and sense to be found in some of the most celebrated and beautiful poems in the English language, from Shakespeare to Edna St. Vincent Millay to Robert Frost. With a poet's ear and a poet's grace of expression, Oliver shows what makes a metrical poem work - and enables readers, as only she can, to "enter the thudding deeps and the rippling shallows of sound-pleasure and rhythm-pleasure that intensify both the poem's narrative and its ideas."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"What good company Mary Oliver is!" The Los Angeles Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395850862
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 237,554
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver is one of the most celebrated and best-selling poets in America. Her books include Red Bird; Our World; Thirst; Blue Iris; New and Selected Poems, Volume One; and New and Selected Poems, Volume Two. She has also published five books of prose, including Rules for the Dance and, most recently, Long Life. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

PART ONE: THE RULES 1. Breath 2. Patterns 3. More About Patterns 4. Design: Line Length 5. Release of Energy Along the Line 6. Design: Rhyme 7. Design: Traditional Forms 8. Words on a String 9. Mutes and Other Sounds 10. The Use of Meter in Non-Metric Verse 11. The Ohs and the Ahs 12. Image-Making

PART TWO: THE DANCERS ONE BY ONE 13. Style

PART THREE: SCANSION, AND THE ACTUAL WORK 14. Scansion: Reading the Metrical Poem 15. Scansion: Writing the Metrical Poem 16. Yourself Dancing: The Actual Work

PART FOUR: A UNIVERSAL MUSIC 17. Then and Now Envoi

PART FIVE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF METRICAL POEMS Permissions Index

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