Volume 61-2 (2021)

A. О. Tkachenko
Dr Hab., Prof., Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv


The researches of Ukrainian vers libre mostly associate its origination with Lesya
Ukrainka’s poetical heritage. Not denying the statement about the poetess’s attempts
to move away from the rigid rhythmic-metric canons of classical syllabic tonic and
explore new ways of modern versification, the author of the article, however, proceeds
from the conviction of this artistic speech type’s deep rootedness in rhythmic folk
genres (magical formulas, wishes, lamentations, curses, benevolence), as well as in a
variety of ritual pre-Christian, double faith and Christian prayer-centric texts
(prayers, confessions, supplications, orders etc.). Lesya Ukrainka at the end of the
XIX century brought back these old traditions into written secular literature, but her
unrhymed poems were still largely inspired by ancient metrics imitation, and
remained captive to syllabic-tonic and partly tonic rhythms, varying due to diverse
anacrusis, multi-metric verses and slight pausing.
Based on the principles of metric plurivalence (I. Kachurovsky’s term), i.e. the
ability to measure the same text with different meters (measures). So, the poetess’s
rhythmic constructions can be qualified as unrhymed unregulated multi-metric threesyllables with sporadic caesura, complete and truncated pre-caesary and clause feet;
as metrically modelled on ancient hexameter imitation, where long metric lines are
“cut” by a caesura and arranged in pairs of text lines (“ladder-like”); as poems of the
tonic versification system. Both caesura and leimic verse, as well as the standard feet
number (in the lines) increase or decrease, have in ancient poetry the certain
generalized names of lipometry and hypermetry.
Thus, moving away from classical syllabic tonic requirements and using the example
of ancient metrics imitation, diversifying it with the casual unregulated combination of
multi-metrical three-syllable verses, Lesya Ukrainka brought the modernization of
Ukrainian literary poetry closer not only to European and world vers libre creation
sources, but also to its origin. Apparently, this was facilitated by her folkloristic
activities, which did not allow to forget the “old”, revived in the “new”.
Keywords: vers libre, inconsistent (casual) syllabic tonic, metric plurivalence,
variable anacrusis, lipometry, hypermetry, imitation, ancient metrics.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17721/2520-6346.2(61).184-203


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