What is meant by Ezra Pound's term "musical phrase" in his discussion of Imagism?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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One of Ezra Pound's three principles of Imagism was:


As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.


This principle was concerned with prosody. Pound was strongly interested in the different forms of possible rhythmic arrangements for verse, especially those of the troubadours and the early Anglo-Saxon and Italian poets. He saw the fluidity and musicality of their rhythms as more interesting than what he considered the metronomic regularity of much of Victorian verse. In many ways, he was part of the free verse movement that began in France in the fin de siecle, although his actual practice often was closer to extreme variations on a theme than what late 20th century poets would term pure free verse.