Susius rejects the traditional metres of Latin love poetry, including the elegiac couplets of the Roman poets Ovid, Propertius, and Tibullus and the hendecasyllabic
verse used by Catullus in his erotic epigrams.
While discussing "quel brano della trama di mia vita"--an hendecasyllabic
play on Dante's "nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita" that pointedly individualizes the experience and aestheticizes the "cammino" into a "trama"--Claudio first identifies the three virgins as having shaped his life ("da loro medesime operato inconsapevolmente").
In the first case, the chorus paraphrases, in hendecasyllabic
metrics though not quite in sonnet form, Guido Cavalcanti's Noi sian le triste penne isbigottite, though in this case the quills themselves, and not the poet, are nearing their demise, "painfully twined and twisted" and "so close to death that nothing / is left of us" (53), and there is no redeeming hope of love to sustain the poetic argument, which remains interrupted.
If this approach appeals to scholars in comparative literature, it also encourages critics in nationally designated language departments to consider what the author calls (rifling on Richard Helgerson's landmark study) "form[e]s of transnationhood"--"form[e]s" hailing both the poetic styles one encounters in these publications (sonnet, hendecasyllabic
verse, dixain, etc.
Together these resemblances appear too close to have resulted from happenstance, and such a reading is corroborated by the fact that both poems are composed in the hendecasyllabic
meter, one of the most common meters in the Catullan corpus.
After the description of the females entering the small lake, the phrasing reaches its climax with a simile taken from Ovid, and expressed in a double hendecasyllabic
structure: "They all seven undressed and got into the water, which to the whiteness of their flesh was even such a veil as fine glass is to the vermeil of the rose" ("Tutte e sette si spogliarono e entrarono in esso, il quale non altramenti li lor corpi candidi nascondeva che farebbe una vermiglia rosa un sottil vetro" 6.
Divided into three sections and written entirely in hendecasyllabic
lines, The Rest of the Voyage is a reflection on travel, form, and how the way we write about what we observe can affect our experiences.
Despite not formally adhering to Catullus' hendecasyllabic
metre or Petrarch's Italian sonnet, the poem is influenced by both.
Stewart is a particularly faithful translator, retaining the rhythms (Merini often wrote unrhymed hendecasyllabic
verse, the closest equivalent of which is regular blank verse in English), uneven punctuation and tortured syntax of the original poems.
There ate a total of ten stanzas (forty lines) in "Poema de los dones" while "Arte poetica" contains seven stanzas (twenty-eight lines) yet both ate written in hendecasyllabic
quatrains with consonantal rhyme (ABBA), with the exception of the second stanza of "Poema de los dones," which alternates the rhyme scheme slightly (ABAB).
The most important limitation suggested by "Hendecasyllabics
" is that the translation of classical meters results in such a dense interweaving of prosody and the poetic genre of satire that it is hard to imagine a poet using hendecasyllabic
verse for any other reason.
The latter is an almost metaphorical operation, one which concerns the level of enunciation and has one of its exemplary realizations in the series "fenomeni di fiera" ("carnival phenomena"; in Rive [Shores; Einaudi, 2001]), a Dantean gallery of transtelegenici, roadside spectacles immortalized in the varying sequence of hendecasyllabic
verse lines as the "metrical cage, " and syllabotonic (or accentual-syllabic) pronunciation that removes them from the indistinct chatter of that other, more literal frame for speech, the television.