New Ways of Doing Poetry
New ways of doing poetry:  the six-four line 
Starting with the obvious:  iambic pentameter, brought to England five hundred years ago by Sir Thomas Wyatt and the earl of Surrey, had provided the infrastructure that nearly all the great poets have depended on for their works.  But for at least a century now, the problem has been growing:  as Roberto Calasso put it in his remarkable Literature and the Gods, “there is a danger inherent in the life of the meters.  Ceremonies sap their strength”.  It is now simply near-impossible to use the meter for original verse without sounding like the poetry of the past. 

  In the six-four line, the rhythms of the spoken language are organized, not by a set pattern of feet or of syllables, as in other metres, but by the basic bar-to bar patterns of classical music:  figure, section, phrase etc.   
Broadly speaking, the line is the equivalent of the musical phrase, with no automatic pause at the end.  Most lines are four bars long, some two bars long; ten percent or more have six bars, perhaps another ten percent have three.  
These make for an uninterrupted musical continuum formed of greatly variable units, from seven to eighteen syllables long.  It is totally different from I. P. in that, because five is a prime number, I. P. is always asymmetric, whereas six-four is almost invariably symmetric.  The point is not, of course, that the one is superior to the other, but that they are polar opposites. 
It is for this reason, I believe, that to my ear, six-four sounds utterly natural, but arouses no echo of the poetry of the past.  It is clearly well suited for narrative and also for verse drama, it is particularly suited to the translation of French verse, since it generates twelve-syllable lines naturally, and can translate not just the words, but the music.