Ezra Pound, in his essay "A Retrospect," uses the term "musical phrase" in one of the three principles that he explains characterize his particular school of poetry. Here is the full principle as it appears in the essay:
As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.
A metronome is a device that ticks in a regular pattern. Pound explains that the "musical phrase" is a better way to think about grouping and arranging words in a poem, rather than abiding by expected and regular patterns of sound. He discusses the musicality of words and poetry later in the essay, reinforcing the notion that the musical rolls and waves of words in a poem are much preferred to the repetitive rhythm of words that imitate the sequence of a metronome.
You’re referring to Ezra Pound’s essay “A Retrospect,” containing ideas first expounded by F. S. Flint in his essay “Imagisme” from the March 1913 edition of Poetry alongside Pound’s “A Few...
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