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February 02, 2012

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Ray Girvan

"wondering-why Poe has bothered with this at all"

Channing's Poems anthology is online in full: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cco9AAAAYAAJ

I do think Poe's criticism is over-the-top and quite off the point. Channing's poems aren't great, but they're no worse than any number of works by better-known poets of the same era. Poe was a strict-metre geek: but unless you've actually said a poem is going to be strict-metre (e.g. you say it's a Shakespearean sonnet, then failed to obey iambic pentameter) there's no obligation for it to be, nor reason to criticise it for not being so. Poe's poems were just as full of the weird inversions and syllable padding to get rhyme and scansion as anyone else's, and it seems his poems were also full of the same kinds of faulty rhyme that he criticised (see Poe's Rime, RC Pettigrew, 1932: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2920283 ).

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