Poetic Meter and Poetic Form: The Why and the How with Steve Polansky           

Until very recently in the history of poetry written in English, a deep understanding of, and love for “prosody” – the “science” of poetic meter and poetic form – was a “without which, nothing” facet of the poet’s art. Far from limiting poets, it provided them with a nearly limitless stock of poetic modes and effects, all of them rooted in, and evocative of a rich and dynamic tradition. In these two three-hour sessions, we will study prosody in some depth. Participants will get the chance to experiment, fool around with various forms and meters. Even if you are determined never to write a poem in iambic pentameter, you will come to understand why the line from John Donne’s 10th Elegy – So if I dream I have you, I have you. – might be anything but dreamy. Or why a sonnet is fourteen – not thirteen or fifteen – lines. Or why I, an inveterate fiction writer who has never written a poem, prefer reading poetry.