image: chewed

The interesting thing about Triodes (5.25) is that it provoked the same feeling, and reaction, in me as enthralling music. I’m thinking specifically of Beethoven, a couple of his symphonies. I get a different reaction to, for example, Gorecki’s third, Schnittke’s first, etc..

Music uses powerful non–verbal forms of sound to communicate emotion. It has a very specific language which I do not know; like most people, I understand the gist without knowing the detailed syntax. I did not realise until I read Prynne that poetry could do the same. He’s pointed out, by example, that words can communicate like music; verbs can be used to communicate on a level that I’d thought was exclusively non–verbal.

Poetry has always incorporated techniques of music to achieve poetic effect; for example, alliteration and rhyme. But these are secondary techniques to emphasize, counter or otherwise comment on the words. Prynne has used words alone to create an effect I’ve identified, until now, as exclusively musical.

I’m pretty ignorant of poetry history, especially outside English, so the fact that I’ve never encountered poetry with this effect before, nor heard of any, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. But, so far as I know, what Prynne is doing is revolutionary.