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An essay towards the real character of benevolent language - the period of cosmography — LiveJournal
An essay towards the real character of benevolent language
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anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: April 2nd, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Meter

I see I must take your advice and practice very much; Although it brings a contradiction to my conviction of writing only what I deem worth saying. I personally believe that the ability to write good poetry transfers to any language because what makes a poet good is his ability to elicit in the reader a response that is somehow the mirror image of what drove him to write the poem. Some do it by wit, some by awing command of technique, by musicality, by effect etc. These are all methods that can be learned by anyone with some ability, but only the true poets use them to any avail.
Regarding the ability to write sonnets I think it would surprise even someone as experienced as you are, how big the difference is. If you leave out semantics, it is quite possible to have a simple program write sonnets in Spanish. This is so because in written Spanish, the stresses are fully determined by the orthography, the rules of metric specify a few positions which have to be stressed, the syllable count is ruled by syntax alone, and the rhyming can be discerned in it too. To do the same in English you would have to also take into account the pronunciation of each word for itself and within the context, apart from the more complex metric rules stemming from the use of feet as the basic building blocks of verse.
I am not really informed enough to state this with too much certainty, but as far as I can say, Spanish speaking poets did forsake the stricter traditional rules in the twentieth century. I do recall that Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz deplores in his book on Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, that the poets of his time did so, therefore I assume my impression is not too wrong. A notable exception is Borges, who wrote many sonnets and structured them after the English fashion in terms of the rhyming patterns. The modernist Rubén Darío, part of whose work belongs to the twentieth century too, also wrote sonnets in a special manner, using verses longer than the usual hendecasyllable. Enough now, as I am starting again to sound as if I knew what I am talking about, which is really only very superficially the case.
Thanks for the kudos, I do feel very privileged to have had you and John Crowley make any remarks at all. I hope you see my efforts as aspirations and not as vane pretensions of achievement, I will rather hear a word of earnest criticism than be totally ignored for being a complete bore.
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