In April 2014 A Poet’s Glossary by Academy Chancellor Edward Hirsch was published. As Hirsch writes in the preface, “this book—one person’s work, a poet’s glossary—has grown, as if naturally, out of my lifelong interest in poetry, my curiosity about its vocabulary, its forms and genres, its histories and traditions, its classical, romantic, and modern movements, its various outlying groups, its small devices and large mysteries—how it works.” Each week we will feature a term and its definition from Hirsch’s new book.
free verse: A poetry of organic rhythms, of deliberate irregularity, improvisatory delight. Free verse is a form of nonmetrical writing that takes pleasure in a various and emergent verbal music. “As regarding rhythm,” Ezra Pound writes in “A Retrospect” (1918): “to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.” Free verse is often inspired by the cadence — the natural rhythm, the inner tune — of spoken language. It possesses