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Modernism's Metronome

Meter and Twentieth-Century Poetics

In the twentieth century, meter became an object of disdain, reimagined as an automated metronome to be transcended by new rhythmic practices of free verse. Yet meter remained in the archives, poems, letters, and pedagogy of modern poets and critics. In Modernism's Metronome, Ben Glaser revisits early twentieth-century poetics to uncover a wide range of metrical practice and theory, upending our inherited story about the "breaking" of meter and rise of free verse.

About the Author

Ben Glaser is an assistant professor of English at Yale University. He is the coeditor of Critical Rhythm: The Poetics of a Literary Life Form.

Endorsements

"Modernism's Metronome is anything but metronomic. It's got a beat; you can dance to it."

- Aldon Lynn Nielsen, coeditor of Every Goodbye Ain' t Gone: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry by African American Artists

"Glaser's very structure contains an argument: we have not been paying proper attention to the writers we know, and the contemporary criticism of modernism leaves out writers like Teasdale, Douglas Johnson, Bogan, Toomer, Weldon Johnson, and Brown. Modernism's Metronome is controversial and field-changing."

- Meredith Martin, author of The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture, 1860–1930

"Modernism's Metronome puts to rest the notion that experiments with and against meter mark progress over traditional forms associated—not coincidentally—with women and African Americans. Glaser reads US modernist poets' claims for themselves in the context of early twentieth-century literary cultures and soundscapes to reveal the continued stakes of poetic form."

- Anthony Reed, author of Freedom Time: The Poetics and Politics of Black Experimental Writing

"Excellently researched, scintillating, and written with brio. Glaser has a sensitive ear for verse rhythm and outstanding technical prowess. This book is a major asset to modernist studies."

- Josh Epstein, author of Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer

"Whether you're interested in modernism or prosody, Modernism's Metronome is a book that must be read. Every poet knows that a poem is made of patterned syllables, and Glaser clears the way to our future by examining closely our recent past."

- James Longenbach, author of The Lyric Now
Johns Hopkins University Press
Hopkins Studies in Modernism
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