Tag Archives: concatenation

Iteration

My last post explored stanza-linking or concatenation, the chaining of one stanza to another by the repetition of a word or phrase.  This post is about linking within the stanza, which I would prefer to call iteration to keep the two things separate.  Iteration means doing something over again, repeating or renewing something.  The poet repeats a word or a phrase at the same point within each stanza (meaning that the iteration is part of the verse-form rather than incidental repetition), and this repetition of the same word or phrase produces a point of linkage within the stanza.  Sometimes the link is not exact but rather a repetition of the same root word in a different tense or form, or a punning link where the same word appears in two different senses.  Here you can find iteration in lines 73 and 74 of Three Dead Kings:

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Stanza-linking

Researching rhyme and repetition has taken me far into early and mid-fourteenth-century poetry, the stuff that was in fashion before Langland, Gower and Chaucer remodelled poetics, what you might call ‘middle Middle English’.  The Gawain-poet, often seen as the fourth member of the Ricardian gang, has many formal affiliations with the poetry of the 1330s, 1340s and 1350s.  Here a hat tip is very much in order: I couldn’t have got to grips with this in the last few weeks without the scholarship of Thorlac Turville-Petre, Susanna Fein and Ad Putter.

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