Rhyme's rooms The architecture of poetry

Brad Leithauser

Book - 2022

"From the widely acclaimed poet, novelist, critic, and scholar, a lucid and edifying exploration of the building blocks of poetry and how they've been used over the centuries to assemble the most imperishable poems. We treasure our greatest poetry, Brad Leithauser reminds us in these pages, "not for its what but its how." In chapters on everything from iambic pentameter to how stanzas are put together to "rhyme and the way we really talk," Leithauser takes a deep di...ve into that how-the very architecture of poetry. He explains how meter and rhyme work in fruitful opposition ("Meter is prospective; rhyme is retrospective"), how the weirdnesses of spelling in English are a boon to the poet; why an off rhyme will often succeed where a perfect rhyme would not; why Shakespeare and Frost can sound so similar, despite the centuries separating them. And Leithauser is just as likely to invoke Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, or Boz Scaggs as he is Chaucer or Milton, Bishop or Swenson, providing enlightening play-by-plays of their memorable lines. Here is both an indispensable learning tool and a delightful journey into the art of the poem--a chance for new poets and readers of poetry to grasp the fundamentals, and for experienced poets and readers to rediscover excellent works in all their fascinating detail"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 808.1/Leithauser (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 18, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Literary criticism
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"This is a Borzoi book"
Physical Description
x, 350 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9780525655053
0525655050
Main Author
Brad Leithauser (author)
  • Foreword: A first step, a first stop
  • Meeting the Funesians
  • The prosodic contract
  • Poetic architecture
  • Stanzas
  • Enjambment
  • Defining and refining
  • The marriage of meter and rhyme (I)
  • Iambic pentameter
  • Iambic tetrameter
  • Rhyme and rhyme decay
  • Spelling and the unexpected rhyme
  • Rhyme poverty, rhyme richness
  • Rhymes, and how we really talk
  • Off rhyme : when good rhymes go bad
  • Rim rhyme
  • The marriage of meter and rhyme (II)
  • Wordplay and concision
  • The look of poetry
  • Song lyrics
  • Poetry and folly
  • Dining with the Funesians
  • Drinking with the Funesians
  • The essential conservatism of poetry
  • The essential radicalism of poetry.
Review by PW Annex Reviews

Poet and novelist Leithauser (The Promise of Elsewhere) brilliantly elucidates poetry for "the reader who loves words and literature, but maybe feels some trepidation... on confronting a poem on a page." He maintains that a society's literary health can be gauged by the vigor of its poetry and those who read it, and explores the craftwork of several poets, playwrights, and songwriters. In doing so, he delineates the building blocks of poetry, such as stanzas, meter, and rhyme, along the way tracing the internal rhymes in Robert Frost's work; calling Shakespeare's blank verse "stately yet pliable, solid without being stolid"; and extolling Stephen Sondheim as "Byron's progeny." Leithauser facilitates a deep appreciation of the craft without slipping into academic jargon, and his own prose is lyrical, as when he describes a poem as "a compact sonic parade, marching clamorously through the tunnel of the ear canal, an ever-shifting zone of commotion in which the most recent sounds serially dominate." His writing is a joy to read, as is his message that poetry can benefit one's mind—the first message of all poems, he writes, is to "slow down." Readers ready to discover the power of poetry need look no further. (Feb.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Poet and novelist Leithauser (The Promise of Elsewhere) brilliantly elucidates poetry for "the reader who loves words and literature, but maybe feels some trepidation... on confronting a poem on a page." He maintains that a society's literary health can be gauged by the vigor of its poetry and those who read it, and explores the craftwork of several poets, playwrights, and songwriters. In doing so, he delineates the building blocks of poetry, such as stanzas, meter, and rhyme, along the way tracing the internal rhymes in Robert Frost's work; calling Shakespeare's blank verse "stately yet pliable, solid without being stolid"; and extolling Stephen Sondheim as "Byron's progeny." Leithauser facilitates a deep appreciation of the craft without slipping into academic jargon, and his own prose is lyrical, as when he describes a poem as "a compact sonic parade, marching clamorously through the tunnel of the ear canal, an ever-shifting zone of commotion in which the most recent sounds serially dominate." His writing is a joy to read, as is his message that poetry can benefit one's mind—the first message of all poems, he writes, is to "slow down." Readers ready to discover the power of poetry need look no further. (Feb.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the widely acclaimed poet, novelist, critic, and scholar, a lucid and edifying exploration of the building blocks of poetry and how they've been used over the centuries to assemble the most imperishable poems. We treasure our greatest poetry, Brad Leithauser reminds us in these pages, "not for its what but its how." In chapters on everything from iambic pentameter to how stanzas are put together to "rhyme and the way we really talk," Leithauser takes a deep dive into that how-the very architecture of poetry. He explains how meter and rhyme work in fruitful opposition ("Meter is prospective; rhyme is retrospective"), how the weirdnesses of spelling in English are a boon to the poet; why an off rhyme will often succeed where a perfect rhyme would not; why Shakespeare and Frost can sound so similar, despite the centuries separating them. And Leithauser is just as likely to invoke Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, or Boz Scaggs as he is Chaucer or Milton, Bishop or Swenson, providing enlightening play-by-plays of their memorable lines. Here is both an indispensable learning tool and a delightful journey into the art of the poem--a chance for new poets and readers of poetry to grasp the fundamentals, and for experienced poets and readers to rediscover excellent works in all their fascinating detail"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

From the widely acclaimed poet, novelist, critic, and scholar, a lucid and edifying exploration of the building blocks of poetry and how they've been used over the centuries to assemble the most imperishable poems • “Anyone wanting to learn how to remodel, restore, or build a poem from the foundation up, will find this room-by-room guide on the architecture of poetry a warm companion.” —Tomás Q. Morín, author of MacheteWe treasure our greatest poetry, Brad Leithauser reminds us in these pages, "not for its what but its how." In chapters on everything from iambic pentameter to how stanzas are put together to "rhyme and the way we really talk," Leithauser takes a deep dive into that how—the very architecture of poetry. He explains how meter and rhyme work in fruitful opposition ("Meter is prospective; rhyme is retrospective"); how the weirdnesses of spelling in English are a boon to the poet; why an off rhyme will often succeed where a perfect rhyme would not; why Shakespeare and Frost can sound so similar, despite the centuries separating them. And Leithauser is just as likely to invoke Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, or Boz Scaggs as he is Chaucer or Milton, Bishop or Swenson, providing enlightening play-by-plays of their memorable lines. Here is both an indispensable learning tool and a delightful journey into the art of the poem—a chance for new poets and readers of poetry to grasp the fundamentals, and for experienced poets and readers to rediscover excellent works in all their fascinating detail. Portions of this book have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The New York Review of Books.