Date: Fri, 11 May 2001
Subject: meter/Anthology/"cola"!

Thanks for replies on meter and print-on-demand EPC Anthology.

Middle finger on left hand is still funky after injury (splint),--- so will
only say:

More forthcoming on both topics.

A web 'zine-type site may be set up as preliminary omnium gatherum for
Anthology work.

And about meter, just to say:

Some comments reflect a wrong impression of what classical meter was (and what
it could offer to innovators), a wrong impression I think fostered by the New
Formalists--- who generally employ structures as if static. In brief, the
metrics of Greek chorus, odes, etc., consisted of lots and lots of alternative
rhythms available for what we would "lines" ("cola"! in the Gk.); poets of
their own choosing mixed and matched these "cola" into larger metrical
inventions of their own (strophes) appropriate to the subject matter or
poetry's purpose. ---The only difference between such classical meter and
"free verse," broadly speaking, was that after running through what we might
see as a "free verse" stanza or strophe, the poet-dramatist would then
repeat that meter once (the anti-strophe),--- then go on to a new metrical
deployment of "cola" and in turn that next stanza's meter repeated once. Etc.

It was, and I think might promise to be, if wrested from the misappropriation
and misrepresentation of New Formalism, as various as the ingenuity of the

Mainly of those recognized "cola" are audible in Pound's Cantos or sometimes
H.D. They were the furthest that could be imagined from the iambic
pentameters etc. that meter has again beeb re-damned into.

The goal of early Modernism's break into "free verse" was to turn away from or
revivify the static decadence meter had fallen into. ---The tables have
turned, though, and the New Formalists, regardless of their
turn-back-the-clocks politics, are in fact a minority at this point.
Ubiquitous is a "free verse" (lineated prose) which is as slackly loose as
pre-Modernist bad meter was rigidly loose.

"Post-Modernism" (including "Language") was on-the-mark in perpetuating the
(notorious term) "logopoeic" strain of the Modernist revolution, that is, an
envigorated vocabulary, and it has also continued the current of the
"phanopoeic," imagery. It's the "melopoeic," the "musicality" (or meter),
that I'm bringing up here--- wondering where it went. Of course, I'm as aware
as any apologist that Language was recurrently criticized for being
"un-musical," that it "does not sing,"--- and I hope I won't be punchily
batched into the frequent flare-up derision that greets insensitive
Language-attackers. (The sublation of meter/"melopoeia" was in fact a
necessary consequence of the principally textual or grammatological focus of
Language, I think.)

Given the new fluidity (Deleuzian flux) and commented-upon variousness that
has re-enegized the playing field of this undemarcated "post-Language"
period,--- I just don't understand why this omission (of meter) goes on.

Parenthetically, "post-Language" as a term of course referred to
"post-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E," that is, after that movement named after a
journal,--- like "post-GQ." Curiously, though, the EPC sees it progressing
every day as literal with more and more "hypermedia"/e-poetry: heightened
graphic design, web software, collage-pictorializations,--- and a diminished
presence of "language" (small case "l"), be it textual or speech. It's
entering a new sort of post-literacy.