Перечитываю PMPF более внимательно, местами по третьему разу. В первой, метрической части PMPF Фасселл выделяет целую главу на верлибр и качественно, консервативно и опрично разъясняет, почему, как и во всех других областях человеческой деятельности, в свободном стихосложении действует принцип "говно посадишь — говно получишь", но что при этом компетентному потребителю стоит пытаться осваивать и этот вид продукции.
Выпишу самое начало и самый конец главы. Некоторыми местами в выписках я передаю горячий привет коллегам @squadette и @screamager, а также давнему разговору про йогурт и хурму. Коллега @screamager отдельно оценит ряд шуточек, пошученных с точки зрения пожилого американского консерватора.
Для контекста надо пояснить, что до главы про свободный стих Фасселл разбирается с историей английской просодии (каковая история в его изложении выглядит как периодическое и попеременное ожесточение и ослабление диктата технических норм), а также долго и с примерами объясняет, что строгое следование канонам, в т.ч. метрическим, это пипец как скучно, но что автор при этом должен понимать, что он делает.
Вот начало главы.
The main nineteenth- and twentieth-century departure from traditional systems of metrical regularity deserves a chapter by itself. The first problem is the very term free verse. If we are persuaded with T. S. Eliot that “there is no freedom in art,” the term free verse will strike us as a flagrant oxymoron. But if free verse seems an affront to logic, the term has the merit of familiarity and is thus handier than the pedantic cadenced verse or the awkward non-metrical verse or the pretentious vers libre. We will use free verse, but we will want to be aware that free has approximately the status it has in the expression Free World. That is, free, sort of.
Another problem is that the designation free verse seems to imply something clearly distinguishable. But free verse is a matter of degree. Just as accentual-syllabic verse with abundant trisyllabic substitutions shades into accentual verse, so, if the number of stresses per line is not uniform or predictable, accentual verse shades into free verse. In the same way, as it leaves behind — like much contemporary poetry — the sense of the line as a strong element of pattern, free verse shades into rhythmical prose. But even if the term free verse is not precise, it is precise enough to distinguish the essential method of post-Yeatsian verse in general. Whatever it is, a poetic medium must be more that a faddish “relaxation” of a former convention if it has served as the medium of major achievements by such undoubted modern masters as Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and D. H. Lawrence. Whatever it means, free verse designates the modern style, and anyone aspiring to experience the permanent masterpieces of modern poetry must achieve some understanding of its techniques.
А вот заключение.
From these examples we can infer that a free-verse poem without dynamics — without, that is, perceptible interesting movement from one given to another or without significant variations from some norm established by the texture of the poem — will risk the same sort of dullness as the metered poem which never varies from regularity. When it solicits our attention as poetry, a group of words arranged at apparent haphazard is as boring as tum-ti-tum.
A lot of people take the term free verse literally, with the result that there is more bad free verse written today than one can easily shake a stick at. Most of it hopes to recommend itself by deploying vaguely surrealistic images in unmetered colloquial idiom to urge acceptable opinions: that sex is a fine thing, that accurate perception is better than dull, that youth is probably a nicer condition than age, that there is more to things than their appearances; as well as that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were war criminals, that the C.I.A. is a menace, that corporations are corrupt, that contemporary history seems “entropic,” and that women get a dirty deal. All very true and welcome. Yet what is lamentably missing is the art that makes poems re-readable once we have fathomed what they “say”.
Indeed, free verse without subtle dynamics has become the received, standard contemporary style, as John Hollander notices: “At the present time in the United States, there is a widespread, received free-verse style marked by a narrow (25-30 em) format, strong use of line-ending as a syntactical marker, etc., which plays about the same role in the ascent to paradise as the received Longfellow style did a century ago.” Or, we can add, as the received mechanical heroic-couplet style two centuries ago. But the principle of excellence in each of these styles is the same, and it can be perceived and enjoyed by anyone who will take a little time. The principle is that every technical gesture in a poem must justify itself in meaning. Which is to say that the free-verse author can proclaim, with Ammons, that he is “released from forms,” but he'd better not be. In free verse the abandonment of capital letters and punctuation must say something consonant with what the predications in the poem are saying. The sudden shortening of a line must say something. The degree of line-integrity or enjambment must refract the rhetorical status of the poem's address. And any momentary deviation into meter must validate itself, must appear not a lapse but a significant bold stroke. For the reader to attend to things like these may be harder than for him to respond to, say, a skillfully reversed foot in a metered line. But he must learn to attend to them if he is to take a pleasure less doctrinal than artistic in the poetry of his own time.
"Free as in world" отлично конечно. А по-фасселловски точное определение "deploying vaguely surrealistic images in… colloquial idiom to urge acceptable opinions" вообще напоминает мне большую часть современной "изощрённой" художественной продукции, которую многие из нас привыкли любить. Группу Åквариум например.