The Economist on Enjambment

The Core presents an article from The Economist, which discusses enjambment’s popularity and origins. Here is an extract:

In “The Force of Poetry”, Christopher Ricks, formerly the Oxford Professor of Poetry who is now at Boston University, writes elegantly of the way enjambment can make language seem elastic:

Lineation in verse creates units which may or may not turn out to be units of sense; the “flicker of hesitation”…as to what the unit of sense actually is—a flicker resolved when we round the corner into the next line—can create nuances which are central to the poet’s enterprise.

Mr Ricks cites some fine examples, such as John Milton’s use of the device to turn an intransitive verb to a transitive one in two lines from “Paradise Lost”:

Then feed on thoughts, that involuntary move
Harmonious numbers.

For the full article, visit

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *