Of or relating to poetry whose meter is based on both the placement of accents and the number of syllables in a line.
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This is not to say that the poems are all written in accentual-syllabic, rhymed lines; we encounter prose, free-verse poems, and even a shaped poem.
His recent article demonstrates this system while also revealing how natural, in fact, is the tendency for English verse to vary the number of syllables between "beats" (that is, in a different terminology, to vary the number of slack or unstressed syllables in a line of English accentual-syllabic verse).
One can always suspect that there is some prosodic principle lurking in free verse, the ghost of accentual-syllabic meter, or ghosts of other, or nonce, metrical patterns waiting to be discovered (and unfreeing the verse in the process).
A specific memory of his teaching came back recently: Charles was demonstrating the difference between accentual-syllabic meters and other kinds of accentual meters; he "scanned" the sprung-rhythm lines from Hopkins's "The Windhover.
It is not necessary for Halkin to claim, in a justification for his own use of accentual-syllabic meters, that the medieval Hebrew poems exhibit regular patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables despite their deployment of ostensibly quantitative meters.
It is accentual rather than accentual-syllabic, though there is quite a bit of not necessarily inadvertent iambic pentameter in most of them.
Historically, the contemporary poetry we teach tout corps depends upon Modernist "free verse," that separates the line break from the "music" of rhyme and accentual-syllabic verse.
Thus duped into hearing verse cadence "not as it was written, by the poet's ear, but by the inept notions of prosodists," poets striving to hew to the English metrical tradition have been trying to thrash their way out of the accentual-syllabic briar patch ever since.
This poem, with its doubled or tripled levels of narration and description, left me wishing for what I equate with the figurative in poetry: the fixed structure of accentual-syllabic form to order its plunges and ascents through the sculptor's studio and garden, the friends' shared history.
Although accentual-syllabic verse is very strictly measured, variations in both accent placement and number of syllables are often allowed.
For models of spare, nondiscursive presentation and meters other than the accentual-syllabic pentameter, imagists turned to a wide variety of literatures, including classical Greek and Latin poetry, Chinese and Japanese forms, and biblical, Old English, Provencal, and Symbolist verse.
He does not confuse "free verse" with the reckless abandonment of the qualities of the English language itself, its accentual-syllabic rhythms, its tonal registers and sonic textures.