Modernism and free verse


Published on

Introduction to Modernism and free verse, with twentieth century examples.

Published in: Education
1 Comment
  • Could you tell me where you got the Wainwright quote from?
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Modernism and free verse

  1. 1. Poetic forms & genres Modernism and Free Verse Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  2. 2. The 'Modern Period' in Literature Abrams identifies this as dating from c. 1914 onwards. 'Modernism' the cultural and intellectual movement refers to particular progressive forms, techniques and ideas which emerged in the decades before 1914. Modernist authors include James Joyce and Virginia Woolf Stravinsky (musician); Picasso (Painter) Not all art or literature produced during the modern period is modernist. Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  3. 3. Modernism Jeffrey Wainwright: Modernism: In literature and the other arts, a loose, experimental movement in the twentieth century which sought to break with preceding styles. In poetry, modernism made formal challenges to such long-standing features as the verse-line, rhyme and stanza, initiating 'Free verse'. Also conventional narrative coherence was sometimes replaced by jump-cut juxtaposition of incidents without clear time-sequence or conclusion. Further, the assumed single speaking 'I' dissolves into a more elusive voice or voices, sometimes seemingly speaking from the unconscious as well as conscious mind, or from a characterised voice or persona. Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  4. 4. Background to Modernism Break up of the old order and the old society Industrialization and urbanization Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution Karl Marx's critique of Capitalism Sigmund Freud's theory of the Unconscious. First World War (1914-1918) European and transnational movement (US) Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  5. 5. Imagist Poetry 'the starting point of modern poetry' (T.S.Eliot) Generally regarded as the first Modernist poetic movement. Favoured precision of imagery; rejected sentiment and discursiveness. Rejected the traditional forms of poetry. 'To Break the Pentameter, that was the first heave' (Ezra Pound) 'Make it New!' Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  6. 6. 'In a Station of the Metro' (Pound) The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  7. 7. Aspects of Literary Modernism Self-consciousness, experimentation New techniques such as the Stream of Consciousness Fragmentation in structuring literary works Lack of a single authoritative viewpoint. Could be replaced by unreliable narrator or multiple points of view. Fragmentation in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land; Ezra Pound's Cantos. Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  8. 8. The Waste Land (T.S. Eliot, 1922) One of the most important poems of the 20th century Tonal shifts include: satire, prophecy, elegy Jumps between places, voices, times and register. Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  9. 9. Voices in pt 1 include: Memoir of Countess Marie Larisch The Bible (Old Testament) John Donne's religious writing Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (Libretto) Tarot Card reading Baudelaire Dante Elizabethan dramatist John Webster 'These fragments have I shored against my ruin' (Eliot) Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  10. 10. Free Verse Also known as 'open form' or 'verslibre' Lineated but not organised by meter or any other strict patterning device Most free verse has irregular line lengths and lacks rhyme Remember: don't confuse free verse with blank verse! Blank verse is unrhyming iambic pentameter. It can help to think of broad different categories of free verse: Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  11. 11. 'free blank verse' Critic Philip Hobsbaum devised this term: it refers to free verse that has echoes of traditional iambic pentameter. Much of T.S. Eliot's poetry is a good example...: Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  12. 12. From Gerontion (T.S. Eliot) After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions, Guides us by vanities. Think now She gives when our attention is distracted And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late What's not believed in, or if still believed, In memory only, reconsidered passion. Gives too soon... Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  13. 13. Long Line The long lyrical line of some free verse poetry can be traced back to the authorized version of the Bible (1611). From the Song of Songs: Behold thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast dove's eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; wherof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely; Thy temples are like a piece of pomegranate within thy locks. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.... Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  14. 14. From Walt Whitman 'Song of Myself' (1855) I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you, And you must not be abased to the other. Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat, Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best, Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice...Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers... Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  15. 15. From 'Snake'(D.H. Lawrence, 1923) Someone was before me at my water-trough,And I, like a second comer, waiting. He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment, And stooped and drank a little more,Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking. Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  16. 16. From 'Howl'(Allen Ginsberg, 1955) Angelheadedhipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley.... Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  17. 17. Minimal lines used by US poet William Carlos Williams (and others) : 'I didn't go in for long lines' Of death the barber the barber talked to me cutting my life with sleep to trim my hair - it's just a moment he said, we die every night - Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres
  18. 18. e.e. cummings, 'portrait' Bufallo Bill’s defunct who used to ride a watersmooth-silver stallion and break onetwothreefourfivepigeonsjustlikethat Jesus he was a handsome man and what I want to know is how do you like your blueyed boy Mister Death Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres