Meter and Meaning: An Introduction to Rhythm in Poetry, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Meter and Meaning

An Introduction to Rhythm in Poetry, 1st Edition

By Thomas Carper, Derek Attridge


168 pages

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pub: 2003-08-14
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Poet, Thomas Carper, and scholar, Derek Attridge, join forces in Meter and Meaning to present an illuminating and user-friendly way to explore the rhythms of poetry in English. They begin by showing the value of performing any poem aloud, so that we can sense its unique use of rhythm. From this starting point they suggest an entirely fresh, jargon-free approach to reading poetry. Illustrating their 'beat/offbeat' method with a series of exercises, they help readers to appreciate the use of rhythm in poems of all periods and to understand the vital relationship between meter and meaning.

Beginning with the very basics, Meter and Meaning enables a smooth progression to an advanced knowledge of poetic rhythms. It is the essential guide to meter for anyone who wants to study, write, better appreciate, or simply enjoy poetry. Carper and Attridge make studying meter a pleasure and reading poetry a revelation.


'Derek Attridge's system of beat prosody is one of the most distinguished modern contributions to the theory of poetic rhythm. In this new work Attridge has joined with a poet, Thomas Carper, to produce an introductory account of the theory aimed at aspiring poets, secondary school and university students and their teachers, and the general reader who simply loves poetry.' - Language and Literature

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1. Basic Rhythms. Further Practice. 2. Beats: B , b, [B]. Further Practice. 3. Offbeats: o , O , -o- , [o] , ô. Further Practice. 4. Scan-ning Poems. Further Practice. 5. Rhythmic Figures. 6. Names and Labels. 7. Meter and Meaning. 8. Identifying Meters and Stanza-forms. Where to Go from Here. Scansion Symbols. Afterword. Index

About the Authors

Thomas Carper is the author of three volumes of metrical poetry including Distant Blue, recipient of the 2003 Richard Wilbur Award, Fiddle Lane and From Nature. He is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Southern Maine. Derek Attridge is Professor of English at the University of York, UK. He is the author of the highly influential texts on beat prosody, The Rhythms of English Poetry and Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction and has also published books on literary theory, sixteenth-century poetry and twentieth-century fiction.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POETRY / General