Frye on sound and poetry ♥

October 11, 2011

“Music, of course, is concerned not with beauty of sound but with organization of sound, and beauty has to do with the form of the organization. A musical discord is not an unpleasant sound; it is a sound which throws the ear forward to the next beat: it is a sign of musical energy, not of musical incompetence. Applying such a principle to poetry, we should say that when we find sharp barking accents, long cumulative rhythms sweeping lines into paragraphs, crabbed and obscure language, mouthfuls of consonants, the spluttering rumble of long words, and the bite and grip of heavily stressed monosyllables, we are most likely to be reading a poet who is being influenced by music.”

Ahhhh, Northrop Frye, you are a thing. In his “Introduction: Lexis and Melos” to  Sound and Poetry, English Institute Essays 1956, New York: Columbia UP, 1957: xiii.

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