January 7, 2017

Review of Metre, Rhythm, and Verse Form by Philip Hobsbaum

I've read several books from this series by Routledge, The New Critical Idiom. So far I haven't read one that hasn't been worth the attention. This one is good overview of metre, rhythm, and verse form that relies upon analysis of several examples. Hobsbaum describes specific verse forms but also discusses their dynamics, the way they emerge in response to previous forms, and how they change over time. The chapter on blank verse was very insightful. Hobsbaum also helped me rethink "free verse." I did not understand free verse at all. I considered anything that is lineated and presented as poetry as free verse. Hobsbaum argues that this is not the case. He has a more constraining definition of free verse. For him, free verse is almost always anchored in a latent metre, rhythm, and verse form and yet deviates for specific effects.