Whenever we read verse – seated in the armchair while at the same time, in a space both imaginary and real, walking through the poem – a phenomenon which we frequently encounter is that of syntactic incompletion at the end of the poetic line. At this point, at which meaning as carried by syntax may be felt to break down, if only momentarily, are we then to ‘soften the blow’ of the line-end, gliding along to the next line to find syntax completing itself as if seamlessly? Or, conversely, are we to stop, to pause, aligning ourselves, as it were, with the interruptive force of the linear end-point, savouring, so to speak, the moment of syntactico-semantic breakdown inflicted by it? – Phenomenologically, this question is fundamental. Any attempt to answer it would seem to require an investigation into the very fundamentals of the experience of reading verse. Glimpses of what such an investigation might reveal, now, are such as we shall be attempting to catch.
Cand.phil. in Danish, Research Scholarship (1999-2003), Assistant Professor (2004-2007) and Associate Professor (2007-2008) at the Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen. Vistiting Scholar & Fulbright Fellow, New York University (1999-2000). President in the Nordic Poetic Company. Author of Sprog versus sprog: Mod en versets poetik (2003). Recently submitted a doctoral thesis titled The Body in the Line: Steps to a Phenomenology of Verse.