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9780374528898

An Introduction to English Poetry

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780374528898

  • ISBN10:

    0374528896

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2004-04-01
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Summary

A wise, absorbing, and surprising introduction to poetry written in English, from one of England's leading poets James Fenton is that rare scholar "not ashamed to admit that he mostly reads for pleasure" (Charles Simic, "The New York Review of Books). In this eminently readable guide to his abiding passion, he has distilled the essense of a library's--and a lifetime's--worth of delight. The pleasures of his own verse can be found in abundance here: economy, a natural ease, and most of all, surprise. What is English poetry? Fenton argues that it includes any recited words in English that marshall rhythm for their meaning--among them prisoners's work songs, Broadway show tunes, and the cries of street vendors captured in verse. From these beginnings, Fenton describes the rudiments of--and, most important, the inspiration for--the musical verse we find in books, and concludes with an illuminating discussion of operas and songs. Fenton illustrates his comments with verse from all over the English-speaking world. Catholic in his taste, shrewd in his distinctions, and charmingly frank, Fenton is an ideal guide to everything to do with poetry, from the temperament of poets to their accomplishment, in all its variety. In all his writing, prose or verse, Fenton has always had the virtue of saying, in a way that seems effortless, precisely what lies at the heart of the matter. In this vein, "An Introduction to English Poetry is one of his highest accomplishments.

Author Biography

James Fenton was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1994 to 1999. His most recent works on gardening, A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed (FSG, 2002), of criticism, The Strength of Poetry, and of poetry, Out of Danger, are published by FSG.

Table of Contents

The History and Scope of English Poetryp. 1
Where Music and Poetry Dividep. 10
The Training of the Poetp. 16
The Sense of Formp. 22
The Iambic Pentameterp. 26
Variations in the Linep. 32
Patterns of Stressp. 36
Mysteries of the Trocheep. 39
The Genius of the Trocheep. 43
The Shorter Linesp. 48
The Iambic Tetrameterp. 53
The Longer Linesp. 56
The Shorter Stanzap. 61
The Longer Stanzap. 71
The Sonnetp. 77
Minor Formsp. 82
Rhymep. 93
Syllabicsp. 99
Free Versep. 102
Writing for the Eyep. 108
Songp. 115
Poetic Drama and Operap. 122
Glossaryp. 126
Indexp. 133
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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