Intonation and Poetic Convention (MLA Convention, Jan. 3-6, 2013)
This proposed special session for the 2013 MLA Convention (Boston, Jan. 3-6, 2013) explores the relation between verse conventions and intonation. It questions to what extent lineation and other generic and historic markers of poetry, including visual form, might draw upon the inherent organization of intonation in language as a prosodic device for free and/or metrical verse. It also asks whether a prosody based on intonational contours can be made explicit (i.e., shared between reader and poet) or whether it remains perceptual, given the affiliation of some aspects of intonation with performance.
Papers examining/refuting well-known claims of canonical poets (e.g., Frost, Williams, Olson) to utilize intonation, breath units, etc., as a prosodic device are welcome, as are papers on poets, movements, and/or genres not often explicitly theorized in relation to intonation (e.g., 17th-century verse, hip-hop, etc.).