"Windowbeam," a quatorzain of seven couplets, provides an opportunity to appreciate what crucially has altered because it retains Knott's misanthropy.
But my favorite poem in the volume may be "Merry-No-Round," a quatorzain of couplets that was also in The Unsubscriber.
(2) In his notes to the Pleiade edition, Claude Pichois writes: "Ce quatorzain
est cree selon le systeme (comme dirait Baudelaire), selon l'esthetique de l'ebauche, de l'instantane, que le poete elabore au contact des aquarelles de Constantin Guys" (1: 1022).
In her more strict translations, Smith even appears to be making perverse fun of Petrarch's forms by incorporating them into her sequence--not in the Italian quatorzain
but in two elegiac sonnets (sonnets 15 and 16) and another two wildly irregular ones, an English sonnet in tetrambs (sonnet 13) and one (sonnet 14) beginning in a Petrarchan envelope quatrain (abba) but ending with seven rhymes instead of five and punctuated by a couplet.
Verlaine's casting L'Impudent and Quatorzain
pour tous entirely in masculine rhymes for a kind of homosexual code cannot be matched in English.
The book is compact, yet the five chapters range very widely, juxtaposing discussions of periodization, logocentrism, Plato's Aesop, the quatorzain, Leon Battista Alberti's On Painting, Rene Magritte's La Condition Humaine, and several other substantial topics.
The formal mode of signifying in the quatorzain - the rhyme pattern, the repetition of the number 7 (as in the 4/3 stanzaic structure) - represents a "proportion poetical" that confirms the presence of God; indeed, Heninger posits the identity of sonnet structure and the floor plan of a church (80).