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All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing: An Explanation of Meter and Versification [Anglais] [Broché]

Timothy Steele

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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  13 commentaires
52 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best book on metrical poetry ever! 7 mai 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Timothy Steele's ALL THE FUN'S IN HOW YOU SAY A THING is quite simply the clearest and most comprehensive book I have ever read regarding meter and versification. "Meter," Steele writes with deft simplicity in his introduction, "is organized rhythm. The adjective in this definition is as important as the noun. Most speech is to some degree rhythmical. Common devices of sentence structure, such as antithesis and parallelism, impose rhythm on language. But meter is rhythm ordered in a conscious, specific manner. The metrical unit repeats, and once we feel or recognize, in reading a poem, this scheme of repetition, we can anticipate its continuance as a kind of pulse in the verse." Steele then teaches us how to take a poem's pulse -- how to recognize and appreciate those schemes of repetition -- by carefully analyzing lines by some of the finest metrical poets of the past and present. Though I have long been an avid reader of poetry, the breadth and variety of his examples sent me scurrying to the library to read more. And that's not all Steele does. He clearly illustrates the freedom metrical poets can exercise within the norms of organized rhythm, contrasting, say, the fourth foot trochee in Wordsworth's iambic pentameter line from "The Prelude" In silence through a wood gloomy and still with the third foot trochee in Gwendolyn Brooks' iambic pentameter line from "The Children of the Poor" To laugh or fail, diffident, wonder-starred If you don't happen to know what iambic pentameter is yet, let alone a trochee, you certainly will after you have read this book. Mind you, I have only been referring to a few matters taken up in the first hundred pages! In subsequent chapters, Steele explains the aesthetic pleasures of well-handled enjambments, caesural pauses, elisions, rhymes, and stanzas. To his great credit, Steele never leaves the reader mystified about what these terms mean or why understanding them adds so much to our pleasure when we read fine metrical poetry. I believe this book is destined to become the standard on meter and versification in the English-speaking world for a long time to come. The general reader and the specialist will both find much here of interest -- from how good poets rhyme to how Robert Frost sometimes imitated ancient Greek meter. And aspiring metrical poets of all ages will instantly recognize Steele's book as the "bible" on their favorite subject. I have read a number of rather confusing books about poetry recently, including U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's THE SOUNDS OF POETRY, Pulitzer-prize winner Mary Oliver's RULES FOR THE DANCE, Mary Kinzie's A POET'S GUIDE TO POETRY, and Edward Hirsch's HOW TO READ A POEM AND FALL IN LOVE WITH POETRY. Not one of these books can match the readability, erudition, and profound good sense of Timothy Steele's ALL THE FUN'S IN HOW YOU SAY A THING. It is one of the most fascinating books I have read in years. END
39 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 All the fun really is in how you say a thing. 29 mai 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I am currently a student in an undergraduate creative writing program, and I love (and write) free verse. A previous reviewer criticizes Steele for his "rejection" of free verse; this reason is the basis of his/her low rating of the book. Timothy Steele doesn't have a deep admiration of free verse. He even calls it secondary to the main accentual-syllabic tradition. Although I agree with the previous reviewer about Steele's view of free verse, I do not, however, think this book is lessened by Steele's view.
Steele makes it known from the beginning that the majority of the book will be devoted to iambic verse. I bought this book for an intensive study of form and meter, and the book did not let me down. Not only does Steele cover the principles of scansion and metrical variation, Steele takes the reader into the history of our verse and how it has developed over time. He also explores the development of the English language, rhyme, stanza, elision, and grammar's relation to meter. He doesn't even stop there. He covers much more territory; and, by the end of this book, I feel that I have a firm grasp on formal poetic technique.
The only criticism I have is that Steele does have a tendency to overkill some very basic concepts (the discussion of enjambment goes on page after page, the elision chapter went on for quite a while... it could have been more concise).
If you are looking for a book to give you a thorough, clear, and engaging explanation of formal poetic technique, this is a very helpful book. I can truthfully say after reading it I am more confident of my understanding of meter and versification and that I am also more confident of my skills as a free-verse poet. I highly recommend this book.
40 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tim Steele's book leaves the others in the dust. 6 octobre 1999
Par Leslie L. Monsour - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing is of far greater significance and value to poets and students of poetry than any of the other "how-to" guides, handbooks, manuals and critical studies to date. It is painlessly thorough and brilliantly supported by a rich selection of examples; its author is a master of clarity, eloquence, and graceful scholarship. In 1990, Timothy Steele gave us "Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter." Now, in 1999 he gives us this new treasure. These works are the bookends of the decade. Poetry simply doesn't stand up without them.
29 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A comparison of two new guides . . . 27 mai 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1999
As Poetry Month successfully directs our attention to poets old and new, publishers rightly suspect that many avid readers have forgotten (or never knew) how to read a poem for its full effect. Some books promise a lot more than they can possibly teach: how to "fall in love: with visionary poetry, or how to make unmetrical contemporary poems "a part of your life." In both cases, enthusiasm for difficult or politically engaged poets supercedes a rehearsal of the nuts and bolts of making verse, which is admittedly somewhat dull and technical and cannot be dumbed-down.
Mary Kinzie, a poet-critic and Northwestern professor, isn't afraid of being forbidding in her massive practical handbook, A Poet's Guide to Poetry. Intended for serious readers and writers, her smart and rigorous survey of poetic technique -- from syntax and diction to meter and rhyme -- will at least discourage dilettantes. That's no small achievement in an era of "poetry slams" and therapeutic writing groups. Her classroom-tested exercises for writing remind us that it's hard work, and informed by centuries of tradition, much of which Kinzie has at her fingertips. Unfortunately, she also tends to mystify her subject by inventing yet new technical terms and imposing an odd theoretical design on her work (which also accounts for the dizzying cross-referencing). Her notion that we should understand a poem as if we were writing it ourselves is sound, but her idea that all poems should be read as "unfinished" leads to obfuscation. Wedded to her sense of "choices on a continuum," she also over-reads the relation of sound to sense, trying to tease out meaning from every aspect of technique. Filled out with a fine glossary and an excellent annotated bibliography. Kinzie's sometimes plodding text is nevertheless worth the effort.
Like Kinzie, Timothy Steele, another poet-critic and professor (Cal. State), largely ignores the predominant poetry of our time -- free verse. All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing takes its title from a line by Frost, a poet whose commitment to clarity of expression Steele clearly shares in this modest, neatly organized, and lucidly written explanation of English meter. Steele incorporates into his graceful study a wealth of linguistic insight and a solid explanation of scansion; and he fully comprehends the limits of metrics. Unlike Kinzie, he doesn't always try to find some complex meaning in a poet's technical choices. Like Kinzie, he excludes free verse because it teaches us little about metrics and, as a consequence, he and Kinzie both rely on a number of underappreciated modern poets for examples (e.g., Janet Lewis, Thom Gunn, and J.V. Cunningham). Steele's sharp and witty book is the perfect Poetry Month selection: an expert guide that speaks to all levels of readers.
Thomas DePietro
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Immensely helpful . . . 27 mai 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Library Journal, March 15, 1999
While many poets of the 20th century have chosen to abandon traditional meter, turning instead to free verse, it is no secret that most significant poems in the English language follow precise metrical patterns. In this comprehensive guide to the techniques of English verse, Steele uses examples from poets as diverse as Donne, Longfellow, and Wilbur to show how great poetry achieves strength and meaning through meter and other poetic devices. Steele places the many styles of poetry in historical context and clearly explains such elements as rhyme, rhythm, elision, and the use of stanzas. A published poet and professor of English at California State University, Steele is the author of Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter (LJ 4/1/90). Students of poetry as well as practicing poets who wish to hone their craft will find this new book immensely helpful. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
Ellen Sullivan, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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