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Metrical Stress, Feet, Modernity and Haiku

From:Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 9:07
'Soir' is certainly longer than 'soi' or 'sa', for
instance. There is a semi-vowel before the vowel, than
there is the final 'r' that makes it longer. I would
write it 'swa:r' in phonetic. Anyway, I find it simply
impossible to ignore the difference between shorter
and longer syllables in French. Think of 'patte' vs
'pa^te'. 'Words like 'onde' are certainly longer than
'on', etc. Sure, it's not so strict as in music, like
two black notes equalling the white one, but one must
take it into account, especially when writing poetry !

As to free verses, I'm not absolutely opposed to them,
as I happened to write some myself, but it is also
impossible to ignore that something is usually lacking
in them, and that is rhythm, or musicality. Maybe you
can find in them something else as a counterpart, but
anyway something very important is lost. Since the
ancient Greeks, or even earlier, poetry has always
been using rhythm, in any language, I guess (*). No
more rhythm, no more rhymes, ok, but than it's
something else. As my wife says (her ear being used to
Russian rhythms, which are much stronger than ours,
when she sees free verse: 'Eto ne stixi', 'This is not
verses', or 'This is not poetry' (this doesn't mean
that it is BAD, but that it is something ELSE).

I find it strange that you look so conservative about
French orthograph, which is often very outdated, if
not ridiculous (think of 'nenuphar', where there isn't
the slightest reason that there should be a 'ph'
instead of  'f'), and so modern about poetry. Isn't it
contradictory ?

Anyway, I think the the statistics about poetry buying
and reading, comparing XIXth and XXth century for ex,
are not subjective: there are facts. People lost
interest in poetry, and they don't understand it any
more. They find it boring, it doesn't talk to them any

(*) Somebody asked something like : 'is rhythm
sufficient to make poetry ? ' No, of course not.
Poetry needs the language being used in a different
way than the common one, regarding vocabulary, syntax,
meaning, and others. It also needs to evoke something
to the reader, or the listener, so that something can
be shared; otherwise, it's just a sterile and selfish
intellectual game.

N.B. Somebody also said that the rythm is hard to
perceive in the haiku. It might be if you're not used
to read and write haikus, but I think that for the
Japanese, it is very clear. This is cultural. But
remind that even the Japanese don't always follow
strictly the 5 - 7 - 5 rule. In the haiku, there are
many other concepts beside the rhythm, like the season
word, the frequently used interjections, and finally
the whole SPIRIT of the haiku, which is a
philosophical attitude and is the heart of the whole
thing (and this is far more difficult to understand
for Westerners than the 5 - 7 - 5 rhythm).

<christophe.grandsire@...> wrote:
I personally find classical French verse with
> defined cesures very bland and uninteresting for > instance). > > Sorry, but to me it evokes more my head doodling and > my own snoring :)) . I > find the verse bland and atonal. It has no music but > what the other nailed > in it with a hammer. Sorry, but it's not the kind of > thing I call musical. > Once again, de gustibus...
... coloribusque (see the discussion about 'glas' in Welsh). ===== Philippe Caquant "Le langage est source de malentendus." (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Finance: Get your refund fast by filing online.


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>