Odd Stanzas

Barry P. Scherr

Abstract


Stanzas with seven and nine lines have had a long tradition in English verse, but stanzas with an odd number of lines and longer than five lines occur relatively rarely in Russian. Indeed, Russian poetry has never developed a strong tradition of longer lines with an odd number of stanzas, despite two moments when they might have achieved wider acceptance. From the 1820s through the 1840s a few poets, including Lermontov and the less known Kjukhel’beker, composed some notable experiments with these forms. Even Lermontov’s famous Borodinskaja strofa did not attract many imitators, although a number of poets throughout that century and up to the present day have continued to write poems in stanzas with 7, 9 and even 11 or 13 lines. The second period occurred during the early 20th century, but among modernist poets the interest in stanzas was focused more on traditional forms, such as the sonnet. Perhaps because of their rarity, the odd stanzas found among Russian poets most often serve as the platform for complex and unconventional rhyme schemes, often accompanied by other striking formal features as well.

Keywords


Russian verse; stanzaic forms

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/smp.2013.1.1.03

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