Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001


Okay. The collective cold shoulder routine is working, and I'm beginning to
realize from the emphatic non-response that I'm barking into the Duino wind with this one-man agenda about post-modern classical meter--- However, since I have been nicely back-channeled by lurker, I'll continue in my unattended rant (I'm beginning to see how Alan Sondheim must feel).

Tinkered this brief (unimpressive and discardable) metrical exercise the other
evening (below), on THE DOCHMIAC, a five-syllable Greek "foot":

_ / / _ _ /

What I hoped my earlier "Well-Wishers" posting would demonstrate --- by the
relative inaudibility of its rhythm, as opposed to New Formalist buh-BUM-buh-BUM iambics --- is that "true" classical meter is subtly nuanced and varied in a way that keep it quite suited to progressives.

Dicta: New Formalism is misrepresenting the very models they point to. Metrics
has been re-politicized by their misappropriation of Athenian democracy.
Neo-classicism is entirely a Modernist legacy (H.D., Pound, "Kora in Hell,"
Martha Graham, Eliot Carter's "The Minotaur" and "Syringa," Isadora
...!). An ear trained to hear minute shifts of cadence is better prepared
to catch the hesitancies and falsities of politicized language. Go Greek.

The five verses below are "dochmiac dimeter," two dochmiacs per line. (Classical metrics is fun obfuscation for Langpo-lovin' obscurantists too, because it has so much burrogrove terminology: cola, biceps...!)

(The dochmiac alone sub-divides into no less than --- get this! --- 32, yes,
thirty-two recognized variations. The variations begin to proliferate after
"resolution," that any long syllable can be replaced by two shorts. It's about
the freedom of the dochmiac, in fact, that Amy Dale spoke of "Prometheus Bound" sections as "vers libre.")

I have tried, very Tennyson-Swinburne, to fuse English qualitative and Greek
quantitative stress (or "quan./qual." vice-versa, never recall which) by using
long vowels and diphthongs only on stressed syllables (three exceptions: "cor-",
"-ty", and "bou-").

There's a superb post-modern neo-classical poem after Davenport's Archilochus in the latest Fence. ...Taking also as a new raised bar Stacy Doris' Ovid spoof in her new Krupskaya Paramour.

P.S. Thanks for all the "Get Well" cards and flowers about my left middle
finger injury--- especially the bird-of-paradise from J.D. McClatchey!


METRICAL EXERCISE (dochmiac dimeter)

a fire hydrant leaks its spout trickling wet
awash antidote the cure-all for burnt
corsage beauty queen in first place performs
the best talent act bouquet tossed to crowd
enclosed fortress stormed from drawbridge and moat