What verse form is used in the poem "Junk" by Richard Wilbur?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Richard Wilbur, in his poem “Junk”, is reconstructing the strong stress meter of Old English verse. This type of verse is purely accentual rather than , as modern English verse, accentual-syllabic. He is using a four stress line, with a caesura (marked by a typographical split) between the first and second half of the line. The stressed syllables usually exhibit alliteration. In this poem, he is using imitative form, implicitly comparing the well-crafted meter of Old English verse with the well made axes of Wayland and Hephaestus, and thus implicitly new, sloppily crafted free verse with the junk of modern axes.


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