"Poetry is the sound of language organized in lines." James Longenbach opens this provocative book with that essential statement. Through a range of examples—from Shakespeare and Milton to Ashbery and Gluck—Longenbach describes the function of line in metered, rhymed, syllabic, and free-verse poetry. That function is sonic, he argues, and our true experience of it can only be identified in relation to other elements in a poem. Syntax and the interaction of different kinds of line endings are primary to understanding line, as are the relationship and differences of lineated poems to prose poetry. The Art of the Poetic Line is a vital new resource by one of America's most important critics and one of poetry's most engaging practitioners.
Praise for James Longenbach:
"A sensibility this cogent, this subtle and austere is rare; even rarer is its proof that poetry still flows through all things and transforms all things in the process."—Carol Muske-Dukes,Los Angeles Times Book Review
". . . one of our finest poet/critics."—Edward Hirsch