Other literary forms
Although Timothy Steele rarely reviews books, he is one of the leading prosodists of his generation. In Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter (1990), Steele discusses the flawed historical assumptions behind much of the modernist poetry. His knowledge of both classical and romance languages and literature serves him well here. In a quotation for the book, X. J. Kennedy writes that “Steele’s arguments strike me as so forceful, so well thought through, that anyone who assails them will find the going difficult.” This has proven all too true as the critical establishment has found it in its own best interests to ignore Steele’s argument rather than attempt its refutation.
Steele has also published a book of prosody, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing (1999), which not only is a good introduction to poetics but also helps dispel many modernist assumptions. He makes an excellent case that, regardless of T. S. Eliot’s contentions, the iambic measure is alive because of variations within the meter rather than those caused by the breaking of the meter. In addition, Steele makes a persuasive argument for the near nonexistence of the Pyrrhus and spondee in English-language poetry.