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The Ghost of Meter: Culture and Prosody in American Free Verse
by Annie Ridley Crane Finch
University of Michigan Press, 2000
Paper: 978-0-472-08709-9 | Cloth: 978-0-472-10405-5
Library of Congress Classification PS309.F7F56 1993
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.009


The Ghost of Meter: Culture and Prosody in American Free Verse provides a new strategy for interpreting the ways in which metrical patterns contribute to the meaning of poems. Annie Finch puts forth the theory of "the metrical code," a way of tracing the changing cultural connotations of metered verse, especially iambic pentameter. By applying the code to specific poems, the author is able to analyze a writer's relation to literary history and to trace the evolution of modern and contemporary poetries from the forms that precede them.

Poet, translator, and critic Annie Finch is director of the Stonecoast low-residency MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. She is co-editor, with Kathrine Varnes, of An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, and author of Calendars. She is the winner of the eleventh annual Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award for scholars who have made a lasting contribution to the art and science of versification.

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