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Rhythm and Reader Identity in Philip Larkin and Keston Sutherland1

Rythme et identité du lecteur chez Philip Larkin et Keston Sutherland
David Kennedy
p. 93-108

Résumés

Qu’est-ce que “observer et décrire le rythme” signifie? Et est-ce que notre capacité de procéder à pareille description nous donne un supplément de connaissance sur un poème, ou est-ce que cela ne fait que renforcer l’illusion selon laquelle de tels poèmes, par opposition à d’autres textes, présentent un contenu interne accessible permettant de transmettre des vérités? Cet article s’attache à démontrer que de telles questions sont secondaires lorsqu’il s’agit de déterminer comment le rythme et la description que l’on peut en proposer ont joué un rôle (et continuent de le jouer) dans la production du lecteur. Cet article se concentre sur deux poètes très différents: Philip Larkin et Keston Sutherland. “M. Bleaney” de Larkin, a recours à l’empirisme et à l’assertion iambique pour produire l’illusion d’une connaissance consommable. En revanche, “Ten Past Nine” de Sutherland met le lecteur au défi de savoir quel est son sujet et “qui” parle, si bien que le lecteur devient incapable de savoir “qui” il ou elle est censé être. Le rythme régulier révèle non pas un caractère poétique consommable mais une pathologie dérangeante que le lecteur est invité à partager

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  • 1 Keston Sutherland answered my questions generously and patiently; and gave me permission to quote h (...)

1Catherine Addison has drawn attention to two paradoxes involved in reading. The first, she argues,

entails a text which is always both already known and still to be discovered, and a reader who knows or creates all of a poem’s rhythms, but for whom at the same time they are all a surprise waiting to be encountered.
(Addison 1994, 662)

2The second is that “As teachers and as critics [. . .] we may like to valorize the text’s or the language’s autonomy, but the reader’s autonomy continues to contradict both” (Addison 1994, 667). Critics and teachers, then, create readers but so too do texts. In this essay, I want to open a discussion about how rhythm in poetry creates readers; about what is involved in that creation; and about how those readers might be described.

3There already seems to be some broad agreement about this. W.S. Graham described rhythm in his great poem “The Nightfishing” in these terms:

I remember that always somewhere under the live and speaking idiom of the Voice in poetry there is the count, the beats you can count on your fingers. Yes always under the shout and whimper and the quick and slow of poetry there is the formal construction of time made abstract in the mind’s ear. And the strange thing is that that very abstract dimension in the poem is what creates the reader’s release into the human world of another. (Graham 162)

4Paul Fussell says of Donald Justice’s poem “In Bertram’s Garden” that its “moral awareness is implied covertly by the exactitude of its shape”. (Fussell 180) Similarly, John Hollander argues that “meter [. . .] becomes almost a stipulation of what a poem ought to be. The frame begins to recommend, so to speak. And the emblem starts to take on a moral” (Hollander 164). What is notable is how three different writers have made similarly huge leaps: from “time made abstract” to “the human world of another”; from “shape” to covertly implied moral awareness; and from “almost a stipulation” to moral emblem. More recently, we find Philip Hobsbaum arguing that Wordsworth’s lines from The Prelude, “A full half-hour together I have stood/Mute, looking at the grave in which he lies”, are “near to an internal discourse, that which Wordsworth himself called ‘the still sad music of humanity’”. Hobsbaum goes on to assert that “Wordsworth’s diction helps to make this lightly stressed metre function as rhythm because it puts experience in perspective” (Hobsbaum 17).

5What we seem to have, then, is a collective agreement that what is called, variously, count, beats, shape, metre and rhythm is not so much a technical aspect of poetry as a particular form of knowledge. If my opening survey appears to treat the terms meter, prosody, and rhythm as if they are interchangeable then that is because our expert witnesses share a view of what it is that poetry gives us access to even though they use different terminologies. There is a fiction of transparency here: rhythm or metre or whatever is what allows us to “look through” the poem as it were and recognise morality or a common humanity. And, if I can “look though” the poem into “he human world of the other” then the other can, surely, look back through the poem at my human world. We seem close to a model of poetry that is reminiscent of Benedict Anderson’s discussion of newspapers in his seminal study Imagined Communities. Rhythm is, apparently, one of the things that, to adapt Anderson’s words slightly, allows me to imagine other readers “of whose existence [I am] confident, yet of whose identity [I have] not the slightest notion” (Anderson 35). Humanity and morality assume, after all, the existence of others. But so too does reading. There may be senses in which my reading can only take place because I know there are other readers.

6An example of a different type of descriptive difficulty implied by my opening remarks can be found in James Fenton’s An Introduction to English Poetry. Fenton uses the opening ten lines of Tennyson’s “Tithonus” to show how iambic pentameter works. He gives a good description of Tennyson’s lines and concludes thus:

I began looking at these lines because I was in search of a regular iambic pentameter (which I found in the first line), and I continued looking at them because of the wealth of variation shown in line after subsequent line. (Fenton 31)

7Pentameter, he implies, exists not so much as itself but as its not-self or unself. Fenton adds that such variations are “legitimate” because “the ear can comprehend them as variations” and this also implies a conception of rhythm as “internal discourse” (Fenton 34). The reader must know what is regular in order to identify acceptable irregularities. Variation is, we might say, built into expectation.

8It will be apparent from this that rhythm is closely involved in the creation of readers. But what does it mean if I am a reader who can read for rhythm? And even if I am not that sort of reader is the rhythm still somehow working on me? Does being able to describe rhythm actually tell us anything “more” about a poem? Or does it merely flatter us into identifying ourselves and others as slightly more expert readers? Our expert witnesses—Graham, Fussell, Hollander, Hobsbaum and Fenton—all set out to describe rhythm but found themselves wanting to describe something else. The description of rhythm becomes, then, a question about what it is that poetry describes and whether we can describe that. Our experts seem to suggest that the observation and description of rhythm actually give us, or contribute to, the sense that a poem has an accessible interiority. To put this another way, we can’t describe rhythm on its own. Fenton makes a useful point about the writing of poetry:

We think of a line that sounds well, and only later try it out against a template, to see if it actually fits our schema. Or we start something, and then look at what we have so far, and then we try to repeat, with variations, what we have already done. We write a line, and try to compose another to match it. Or we compose a whole stanza and then see how many such stanzas we can devise in order to complete the poem. [. . .] We feel our way forward. (Fenton 23)

9This is interesting for what it says about poetry, knowledge, and poetry-as-knowledge: that is, that we have some knowledge already but acquire new knowledge in the process. Fenton’s remarks are equally applicable to reading and particularly to scansion. They also suggest that poetry is a particular combination of schema, instinct and feeling. Prosody or rhythm or meter cannot be separated out. As Simon Jarvis argues in his article “Prosody as cognition”,

It would be possible to begin thinking about the birth of prosody only upon condition that we stopped thinking of the bodily, and of the musical, as the non-cognitive vessels for a cognitive content [. . .] as though a poetic authorship really were divided into a part which is prosody and another part which is its semantic content. (Jarvis 11–12)

10Jarvis goes on to argue that we need a greater sense of how “a single affective duration” can be understood “as a real experience, the foundation of any possible ontology” (Jarvis 13).

11In what follows, then, I want to suggest that one way to explore this is to understand how our existing ideas of prosody produce readers. The British poet Peter Riley has suggested that the writing of poetry is “always a hybridity, a merging of neutral linguistic units and derived formulations” that involves “echoic relationships with pre-existing poetry or prose, in semantic as well as phonetic structure” (Riley 2). We could make the same suggestions about reading. Catherine Addison makes a similar point. Students have to learn how to “hear” meter but

they retain the choice of masking or overriding this metrical pattern with other, more prose-like types of rhythm. Thus do readers gradually readjust to, and learn from, a text, while still imposing their own vocal habits and expectations upon it. (Addison 1994, 673)

12What “this learning phase” enables, she argues, is “the development of an inner voice and ear which may inspirit the silent reading of poetry with at least as many auditory nuances as the performance situation” (Addison 1994, 673). What can be added to this is that once readers have passed through this learning phase, a particular rhythm signals a type of poeticality to which they already have an allegiance and about which they have expectations. It may even be that specific rhythms coax cognitive processes in particular directions.

  • 2 Collected Poems, p. 102–103. However, my discussion here focuses primarily on Larkin’s 1965 recordi (...)

13I want to explore these ideas further by looking at two poems from parallel traditions of post-war British poetry. The first of these is Philip Larkin’s “Mr Bleaney”.2 I’ve chosen this precisely because it is a poem about knowing and not knowing and about trying to make readings or, more correctly, take soundings. It is a poem about knowledge of ourselves and others and, in a performative sense, about what sort of knowledge poetry is and can give access to. Larkin is a poet we think we know a lot about. We think that, in the words of the poem, we “know his habits”. We think we know, for example, his ideas about poems and readers. There is his much quoted comment that “you’ve seen this sight, felt this feeling, had this vision, and have got to find a combination of words that will preserve it by setting it off in other people” (Larkin 58). One critic has called this “poetry as empirical reconstruction” (Sheppard 3) but this is clearly not the case with “Mr Bleaney”. Like other major Larkin poems—“Dockery & Son”, “An Arundel Tomb”—what “Mr Bleaney” seems to want to “set off in other people” is faith in the continuing possibility of shared experience only to question if not withdraw any familiar grounds for it. As A. Kingsley Weatherhead has noted, Larkin’s poems often reject “the false imaginative act that would aim to redeem [. . .] or at least ginger [. . .] up” the dullness of everyday reality (Weatherhead 617). What results is a space of and for questions: what is knowledge or truth and where does it come from? What rights and claims do we have on it? What right do we have to expect to draw conclusive knowledge from experience or observation? And what right do we have to expect that of the poet? Indeed, “Mr Bleaney’s” movement from colloquial language to apparently authoritative iambic pronouncement perhaps mimics what “An Arundel Tomb” calls our “almost-instinct”.

14Jonathan Raban’s early and insightful account presents the poem as a narrative of post-war consensus. Raban notes ‘the declassed “narrator”, the proletarian “character”, and the essentially aristocratic voice of “poetry”’. In the poem there is “a constant bargaining between the order imposed by the institution of the poem and the separate kinds of life which go on within each individual language”. The poem is “the search for a voice—however minimal—that will cut across the barriers of class and rhetoric and speak direct” (Raban 32, 33). Raban calls this a “tussle between the social dimension of the verse and the verbal patterns into which it is arranged” (Raban 30). He also makes some interesting points about the rhythm:

One instantly senses the firm, underlying grip of the iambic pentameter, the classical, elegiac rhythm of traditional English verse; and this metrical outline is strongly reinforced by the steady recurrence of those tinkling, monosyllabic rhymes. (Raban 30–1)

15At the same time, neither voice in the poem is “at home in the form” and “the poem gets entangled in the cross-fire between speech patterns and verse patterns” (Raban 31). It is no small task to reconstruct the poem’s post-war class and cultural narrative. Larkin’s 1965 recording is useful here. For example, his impersonation of the landlady (stanzas 1 and 2) sounds very like Mrs Mop, a character from the mid-century British radio comedy show ITMA, whose catchphrase was “Can I do you now sir?” Similarly, for a split second, when he reads “But if” (stanza 6), he seems about to turn into Laurence Olivier or any RSC actor. Conversely, the poem does clearly figure its own difficulties with form: “to within five inches of the sill”, “a strip of building land”, “no room”, “saucer-souvenir”, “yearly frame”, “how we live measures” and “one hired box”.

16These difficulties are to do with particular sets of expectations. Readers who have passed through Addison’s “learning phase” will see the form of the poem (seven reasonably regular quatrains) and have expectations or allegiances to expectations about it. They will expect observations that lead to some larger point, one that will be made with what is popularly called “the dying fall”. In John Hollander’s terms, they will recognise the form of the poem as a moral emblem that may well deliver a moral. The fact that the poem begins, in Roger Cauldwell’s words, “in mid-interaction” lends it an authenticity that also supports such expectations (Cauldwell 40). Readers will also recognise what Raban calls “tussle” and “crossfire” as things that, in some sense, earn both the poem and the poet the right to make the big point at the end. It is, we might say, the poem’s reward for its fidelity to its different voices. Readers will also recognise crucial assumptions behind the poem or rather that the form of the poem is a performance of assumptions. We can list some of these assumptions as follows: that we ought to be able to look at the physical manifestations of a life and draw some deeper, reflexive conclusions from it; and that the lived experience of time ought to produce knowledge. Crucially, the poem says that rhythm ought to produce and deliver something. It doesn’t just continue past us, like a car passing our house: it comes to a stop and a meaningful one at that.

17But the final “I don’t know” to a large extent works to undo all this. Larkin’s emphasis on “don’t” tells us that what the poem actually “knows” is very little or open to very large questions. The 1965 recording suggests that the author had doubts about how to make the end of the poem work: we can hear how he struggles with “And at his age having no more to show/Than one hired box should make him pretty sure/He warranted no better”. It is almost as if the point the poem wants to make is too big for it, is too big for the material circumstances it describes. It also seems as if the poem can’t quite bring itself to believe in its bleak almost-conclusion: that life is terrible and, at best, a kind of self-deceiving compromise. What the poem has actually done is listen, observe and record and then given us a kind of elegiac outline and echo. It has performed a hope that this will be enough to get away with its final “I don’t know” derived from the preceding “but whether”. Imagine the effect of those three words at the end of “Lycidas” or “In Memoriam”!

  • 3 I am indebted to Addison’s discussion (1994) of some lines in Hart Crane which I have adapted to La (...)

18There are some other things worth attending to. First, Catherine Addison reminds us that Marina Tarlinskaya has noted how what she calls “traditional or idiomatic phrases” and “broad semantics” undergo weakening or a loss of stress. A word like “things” is an example of “broad semantics” because it doesn’t refer to anything specific. There is something of this in “Mr Bleaney” because the poem performs a tension between, for example, “the whole time” and “tussocky”. And this is why the ending of the poem is unsatisfactory. Words like “tousled”, “frigid”, and “fusty” demand more stress because they are unexpected modifiers; and this, in turn, tells us to expect something important and clinching.3 But “having no more to show”, “make him pretty sure” and even “warranted no better” undercut this because they are more predictable, are species of clichés, and require less emphasis
(Addison 2005, 164).

19Second, I argued that readers have allegiances and expectations. They also have knowledge. Larkin’s line “That how we live measures our own nature” niggles away at me with a distant echo of Marvell’s “Upon Appleton House” and its observations that “No creature loves an empty space;/Their bodies measure out their place” and “But he, superfluously spread,/Demands more room alive than dead” (Marvell 75, 76). To me, this emphasises the extent to which Larkin’s poem, like some of Marvell’s, ends up mocking its own intended seriousness. However, this is not an argument about the poem’s success or failure. There is a kind of honesty about “Mr Bleaney” which one cannot help but admire. The form of the poem, its attempts to combine quite jarringly different registers, its attempt to draw a moral from the narrator’s distaste and implied self-loathing, and its movement from unaccented syllables to more regular, unenjambed lines—all this tells us that poem intends to be, in the words of another Larkin poem, “a serious house” and that it intends us to be serious readers. But the poem is unable to produce a moral. Its conclusion figures disappointment which becomes, in itself, a kind of moral.

20The second poem I want to discuss comes from a tradition of British poetry called variously avant-garde, experimental, or linguistically innovative. “Ten Past Nine” by Keston Sutherland is the opening poem of his 2002 collection Antifreeze:

In my speech shines a radiant energy,
I can destroy hype, the wind flashes with its end,
fury and barriers become smashed
out, the music chars hype
broke out from me. I sing and the serrated horizon
tilts, dirt splashes become zero each. We are
okay. I am not even a fucking person any more.
Without the bloom
of flowers set to crash, and without day after day,
antique throats would char. I am not even
despite fire victimized but am okay. The
grainy void over my speech flares and yellows,
day after day remains, ashen, vital. The things I
do say distort hype, which may become over,
destroyed that
is to say our worst speech. A face at
my window faces that. Without extrapolation
on me what could become smashed,
you cut
deep into her tongue with broken glass,
with your fist you strike out. I am ready
today, I can reduce the significance of love. (Sutherland 2002, 7)

21By any standards, this is a tremendously challenging poem. It reminds us that we’re used to dignifying poetry with subtle purpose and it challenges us to do that. First, there is what we might call the poem’s content trajectory. How do we get from the opening line’s latter-day Romantic assertion to the violence against a woman in the penultimate two lines, and a last line which may or may not be complicit with that violence? On a simpler level, what am I, as a reader, to make of the first line? In one sense, if you were a poet, isn’t this precisely what you’d believe? But, if you really believed it, wouldn’t that risk becoming pathological and perhaps lead to the violence? As a reader, then, how do I, can I internalise it? How can I imagine myself as the speaker of all these lines? It is instructive to note what the “I” says in this poem: I can destroy, I sing, I am not even (twice), but am okay, I do say, I am ready today, I can reduce. How different that is to Larkin’s I: I’ll take it, I lie, I know, I don’t know.

22Second, there is the challenge of the form: three line stanzas that are sometimes simultaneously separated and linked by partially concealed pentameters—e.g. “fury and barriers become smashed out”, “without the bloom of flowers set to crash”; and are arranged into two 11 line stanzas, linked by an irregular enjambment “The/grainy void”. Third, there is the way that the poem is structured around repetitions, echoes and internal rhymes:

  • smashed, flashes, splashes, crash, ashen, smashed;

  • out, out, without, without, without, out;

  • okay, day, day, okay, day, day, say, may, say, today;

  • “er” in energy, serrated, person, flower, after, over, after, over, her;

  • speech, speech, speech, throats, say, tongue.

23There is also the repetition and echoing of odd expressions: “which may become over”, “what could become smashed”, “become smashed out”, “become zero each”. Indeed, the poem seems intent on attempting the opposite of Derek Attridge’s comment that “Phonemes are not produced rhythmically, and it’s a strain to pronounce them as if they were” (Attridge 24). It also seems to be doing something that Sutherland has identified in Chris Emery’s collection The Cutting Room: using “identical syllable or vowel-consonant combination” so that syntax is dominated by series of sounds (Sutherland 2000, 12).

24Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, there is something very odd happening with the stresses. The repetitions and echoes in the poem, to return to Tarlinskaya, have the effect of weakening stress or even removing stress from the poem unexpectedly—e.g. “A face/at my window faces that.” This is not simply a matter of prosody: the poem does not stress English in ways that we would expect. One effect of this is that we come to realise how comforting it is to be able to do what is so hard to do here: observe the rhythm. Even when we can, it is unclear what it gives us, particularly as the stress gets weakened or deflated. In this context, it makes more sense to think of the poem as a series of sound events where static, noise, and diction are working against and off each other.

25In this context, the word “become” is important. As I’ve already highlighted, it is used four times and this connects with an important aspect of Sutherland’s poetry generally—namely, that however many times one reads an individual poem, one remains affronted and unsettled by the sense of the poem always becoming as one reads. The poem is, in a very important sense, never settled. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a reading that would ever “settle” it. This underlines how much our experience and expectations of poetry are bound up with the desire for what might be called poetic action that is smooth, unbroken, and continuous. In contrast, as Jérôme Game notes, Sutherland’s poetry challenges us with its interpenetration of themes; and also with its speed (Game 1). Whatever this is, it is not anything recollected in tranquillity. Indeed, it often seems as if phrases are deliberately over-extended: e.g. “dirt splashes become zero each”, “barriers become smashed out”. And this connects with something that Joel Calahan has observed about Sutherland’s poetry generally: a liking for an over-emphasis of pragmatics (Calahan 3).

26The cumulative effect of all this is to question the idea of our reading selves as members of a community. How can we connect the “I” who sings with the “we” who are “okay” and the “you” who cuts and strikes out? How can “we” be “okay” in this context? To return to my earlier questions, how can the reader imagine themselves as the speaker, how can they internalise and integrate all these lines and subject positions? There are other ways to ask this question which is also an effect of the busted stresses. How can we be simultaneously “in” ourselves and alienated? Or is such alienation actually part of the condition of being “in” ourselves?

  • 4 Comment to the author, Lyon, 14/11/09.

27The rhythm or relative lack of it in the poem works to give us this experience. It is highly significant that one of the most prosodically regular lines is also one of the most disturbing: “deep into her tongue with broken glass”. In an email to me (05/07/2009), Sutherland says that this line is “not just regular, more: inevitable” and marks “a deliberate intensity, a lock, a dark, irrefusible steadiness”. The regularity of the line makes it feel and sound inevitable. The poem slows down here and this makes the line into a kind of destination, a point of arrival or something quite close to it. At the same time, as David Nowell-Smith has remarked, it becomes, paradoxically, a high point of the poem’s aggression towards the reader, to the extent that it is perfectly possible to misread “you cut” as “you cunt”.4 Neil Pattison connects the poem’s imagery of windows and broken glass with what he calls “Antifreeze’s livid fantasies of abortive revenge by self-harm” (Pattison 86). But that doesn’t feel quite right. I read “Without extrapolation/on me what could become smashed,/you cut” as saying something like: “If you engage with this poem’s pathology, if you’re activated by it, then don’t project it onto me, you act out its harm.” In this context, the question Sutherland has asked about Chris Emery’s poetry—“How could this express distortedly an impulse we might recognise?” (Sutherland 2000, 13)—is equally applicable to “Ten Past Nine”.

28Returning to Larkin, this suggests that rhythm makes it possible for me to imagine other readers because it allows me to imagine the poem’s consumability by others. This, in turn, constructs me as a reader. This is not the case here or at least not in the same way. Indeed, Sutherland’s use of conventional rhythm converges with something that the poet and critic John Wilkinson has recently identified in some innovative poetries. The rhythm of Sutherland’s “dark, irrefusible steadiness” gestures towards what Wilkinson calls “a substantial reality [that] lies through a prosody, its materialising of the world—not the other side of prosody, whereby a meaning residue is delivered” (Wilkinson 196–7, original emphasis). The line “deep into her tongue with broken glass” reveals the world of the poem, the full pathological import of the opening line. Rhythm becomes, as it were, the dark heart of the poem. In “Mr Bleaney” it is a merely a vehicle for the offer of a grand statement, the withdrawal of that statement’s promised consolation, and the lesser consolation offered by the final “I don’t know”. The reader is, we might say, consoled by stresses. The fact that “Mr Bleaney” is a poem about knowing and not knowing powerfully suggests the extent to which rhythm is involved with embodying and transmitting knowledge. This, in turn, tells us something about what we assume about poetry and what we expect from it. But, of course, it has taken me many years to become the reader who can read Sutherland’s poem. Thinking about rhythm in the ways I have tried to suggest here might help speed up that process for others.

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Bibliographie

Addison, Catherine, “Once Upon a Time: A Reader-Response Approach to Prosody”, College English 56.6 (October 1994): 655–678.

Addison, Catherine, “Stress Felt, Stroke Dealt: The Spondee, the Text, and the Reader”, Style 39.2 (Summer 2005): 153–174.

Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, revised ed., London: Verso, 1991.

Attridge, Derek, Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction, Cambridge: CUP, 1995.

Calahan, Joel, “On Complicity in Torture and Literature: Orwell, Sutherland, Prynne”, digital emunction April 21 2009,
www.digitalemunction.com/2009/04/21/on-complicity-in-torture-and-literature, accessed 23/04/2009.

Cauldwell, Roger, “Openings, rhythm and relationships: Philip Larkin reads Mr Bleaney”, Language and Literature 8.1 (1999): 35–48.

Fenton, James, An Introduction to English Poetry, London: Penguin, 2003.

Fussell, Paul, Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, New York: McGraw Hill, 1979.

Game, Jérôme, “Energize!—The K—function, or an Anti-freezing speed”, review of Keston Sutherland, Anti-Freeze, Jacket 20 (December 2002), http://jacketmagazine.com/20/game-suth.html, accessed 20/08/09.

Graham, W.S., The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham, ed. Michael and Margaret Snow, Manchester: Carcanet, 1999.

Hobsbaum, Philip, Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form, London: Routledge, 1996.

Hollander, John, Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form, Oxford and New York: OUP, 1975.

Jarvis, Simon, “Prosody as Cognition”, Critical Quarterly 40.4 (Winter 1998): 3–15.

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Marvell, Andrew, The Complete Poems, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

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Pattison, Neil, “Lyric Purity in Keston Sutherland’s Hot White Andy”, Hot Gun 1 (Summer 2009): 84–94.

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Sutherland, Keston, “Nervous Breakdowns in Chris Emery’s The Cutting RoomQuid 5 (August 2000): 10–15, www.barqueprfess.com/quid5.pfd, accessed 20/08/09.

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Notes

1 Keston Sutherland answered my questions generously and patiently; and gave me permission to quote his poem. I am also indebted to Peter Middleton for comments about knowledge and poeticality; to James Booth for a rigorous reading of an early draft; and to Derek Attridge, David Nowell-Smith and Martin Ryle for stimulating discussions during the conference “Rhythm in Twentieth-century British Poetry”, École normale supérieure (Lettres et Sciences humaines), Lyon, November 13–14, 2009.

2 Collected Poems, p. 102–103. However, my discussion here focuses primarily on Larkin’s 1965 recording.

3 I am indebted to Addison’s discussion (1994) of some lines in Hart Crane which I have adapted to Larkin.

4 Comment to the author, Lyon, 14/11/09.

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David Kennedy, « Rhythm and Reader Identity in Philip Larkin and Keston Sutherland », Études britanniques contemporaines, 39 | 2010, 93-108.

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David Kennedy, « Rhythm and Reader Identity in Philip Larkin and Keston Sutherland », Études britanniques contemporaines [En ligne], 39 | 2010, mis en ligne le 11 février 2016, consulté le 19 octobre 2017. URL : http://ebc.revues.org/2809 ; DOI : 10.4000/ebc.2809

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Auteur

David Kennedy

University of Hull.
David Kennedy is Senior Lecturer in English & Creative Writing at the University of Hull, UK. He is the author of Elegy (Routledge New Critical Idiom, 2007) and Douglas Dunn (Writers & Their Work, 2008). He is co-editor of the European Journal of English Studies special issue “Beyond Trauma: The Uses of the Past in Twenty-First Century Europe” (14.1, April 2010); and the essay collection The Survival of Myth: Innovation, Singularity and Alterity (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010). He publishes widely on poetry in English. Recent or forthcoming articles in English, Journal of American Studies, Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, Mortality, and Textual Practice. The Ekphrastic Encounter in Contemporary British Poetry is forthcoming from Ashgate.

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Études britanniques contemporaines est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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