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Thread: What type of verse form are Edgar Allen Poe's poems in?

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  1. #7
    is this how it ends? SuperModerator poetinahat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    I don't know
    It may be that it's not form, but formula: the poems can be described in terms of type and number of feet per line, and patterns of lines of different lengths. I'm very late to this thread, but I think it hits upon a very good topic: why did they do it like that? And how do I decide how long my lines should be?

    In 'The Raven', for example, the trochaic feet (DAH-da) and the eight feet per line (or couplet?) give a lilt to the phrasing in each stanza:

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

    “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—

    Then the end line cuts short, being half as long - sudden, though not jolting, as it retains the meter and rhyme:

    Quote Originally Posted by Poe
    Only this and nothing more.”

    To me, that shortness draws extra attention to the final line, and indeed, it's one of those that is best remembered: quoth the Raven 'Nevermore'

    These shorter lines, all ending in 'more', are landmarks - they mark a longer rhythm in the poem, one that it never varies from; to me, the unvaried repetition is deliberate and ominous: no matter which way he turns, what question he asks, the answer comes back in the same tone and the same sound every time -- there is no escape.

    So I imagine that Poe developed this format - or form, if you will - to suit this subject. Or, I think more likely, he didn't start with the format. Rather, it evolved as he wrote and rewrote, and it just sounded more like what he wanted.

    Someone else here, I'm sure, can put this into words much better than this. Anyhow, for me, this idea is at the heart of poetry for me: how each word sounds and feels is vital, but how they all sound in sequence is at least equally so.
    Last edited by poetinahat; 06-14-2017 at 06:51 AM.

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