1st Edition

A Prosody of Free Verse Explorations in Rhythm

By Richard Andrews Copyright 2017
    232 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    There is to date no comprehensive account of the rhythms of free verse. The main purpose of A Prosody of Free Verse: explorations in rhythm is to fill that gap and begin to provide a systematic approach to describing and analyzing free verse rhythms. Most studies have declared the attempt to write such a prosody as impossible: they prefer to see free verse as an aberrant version of regular metrical verse. They also believe that behind free verse is the ‘ghost of metre’.

    Running against that current, A Prosody of Free Verse bases its new system on additive rhythms that do not fit conventional time signatures. Inspiration is taken from jazz, contemporary music and dance, not only in their systems of notation but in performance. The book argues that twentieth and twenty-first century rhythms in poetry as based on the line rather than the metrical foot as the unit of rhythm , and that larger rhythmic structures fall into verse paragraphs rather than stanzas.

    1. Introduction

    2. Voice: human embodied cognition

    3. Breaking the pentameter

    4. What is distinctive about free verse?

    5. The basis of prosody in music

    6. The basis of prosody in dance

    7. A new prosody 1: elements of the system

    8. A new prosody 2: how the system works

    9. A new prosody 3: the system in action

    10. Free verse across the world

    11. Free verse in translation

    12. Writing free verse

    13. Reading free verse

    14. What lies beyond free verse?

    15. Postscript: June Fires


    Richard Andrews is Professor of Education and Head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. He has recently served as Professor in English and Dean of the Faculty of Children and Learning at UCL’s Institute of Education in London, and as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. He is author of several books for Routledge, including Rebirth of Rhetoric, Argumentation in Higher Education, Re-framing Literacy and A Theory of Contemporary Rhetoric.

    "In A Prosody of Free Verse, Richard Andrews is breaking new ground in terms of our understanding of how rhythm works in non-metrical poetry. In doing so, he is doing a service for teachers, who have wanted to draw attention to rhythm in poetry, but did not have the language to do so." —Terry Locke, University of Waikato, NZ

    "In this text, Richard Andrews describes and demonstrates an innovative new approach to analyzing and composing free verse; this approach upends traditional methods of poetic analysis by supplementing musical perspectives on verse with visual and kinetic ones. In so doing it reflects a broader trend towards conceptualizing the whole notion of text in multimodal terms." —Sarah Beck, New York University, USA