Rail yard background, from the Library of Congress

Connections

A Hypertext Resource for Literature

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Verse Systems
[Page 1]

To understand how a poet constructs verse, one needs first to know what system the poet has chosen to employ. Most poets writing in English before the middle of the twentieth century used some form of accentual-syllabic verse, for example, and most poets writing in English today write primarily free verse. That shift in approach is one of the most striking changes in the history of literature in English; understanding its importance requires knowing a little about those systems in context. Charge ahead, dear reader!

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