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Triadic-line poetry or stepped line is a long line which "unfolds into three descending and indented parts". Created by William Carlos Williams, it was his "solution to the problem of modern verse" and later was also taken up by poets Charles Tomlinson and Thom Gunn.
Williams referred to the prosody of triadic-line poetry as a "variable foot", a metrical device to resolve the conflict between form and freedom in verse. Each of the three staggered lines of the stanza should be thought of as one foot, the whole stanza becoming a trimeter line. Williams' collections Journey to Love (1955) and The Desert Music (1954)  contained examples of this form. This is an extract from "The Sparrow" by Williams:
Practical to the end,
- it is the poem
- of his existence
- ^ Hirsch. Edward 'A Poet's Glossary', Houghton Mifflin Hsrcourt, Boston, 2014 ISBN 9780151011957
- ^ Berry Eleanor, 'William Carlos Williams: Triadic-line Verse - An Analysis if its Prosidy' Twentieth Century Literature Fall 35.3 1989
- ^ Schmidt, Michael, Lives of the Poets, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London 1998 ISBN 978-0753807453
- ^ "Interview with Stanley Koehler", Paris Review Vol 6 April 1962
- ^ Hartman, Charles, Free Verse an essay on Prosody, Northwestern University Press, Evanston 1996 ISBN 0-8101-1316-3
- ^ Collected Poems ed. Christopher MacGowan, Collected Poems Vol II, Carcanet Press, Manchester, 2000 ISBN 1-85754-523-0