A Prosody of Free Verse: Explorations in Rhythm

Richard Andrews

Research output: Book/ReportBook


There is to date no comprehensive account of the rhythms of free verse. The main purpose of A Prosody of Free Verse: explorations in rhythm is to fill that gap and begin to provide a systematic approach to describing and analyzing free verse rhythms. Most studies have declared the attempt to write such a prosody as impossible: they prefer to see free verse as an aberrant version of regular metrical verse. They also believe that behind free verse is the ‘ghost of metre’.

Running against that current, A Prosody of Free Verse bases its new system on additive rhythms that do not fit conventional time signatures. Inspiration is taken from jazz, contemporary music and dance, not only in their systems of notation but in performance. The book argues that twentieth and twenty-first century rhythms in poetry as based on the line rather than the metrical foot as the unit of rhythm , and that larger rhythmic structures fall into verse paragraphs rather than stanzas.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages214
ISBN (Electronic)9781315751405
ISBN (Print)9781138806894
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Rhetoric and Stylistics


  • poetry
  • free verse
  • rhythm
  • prosody

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