NABOKV-L post 0019422, Tue, 16 Feb 2010 14:38:50 -0200

[NABOKOV-L] Casual Nab-sighting related to Bunny-Volodya on
"amphisbaenic rhyme"
VN Sighting at Holy Grail ( art, words, October 28th, 2009 ) on amphisbaenic rhyme ( The term derives from the Greek word amphisbaina, 'a monster with a head at each end'. It denotes a backward rhyme. For example: liar/rail. A rare poetical device.)

"I'm not sure if my use of it (leer/real, leap/peel, rake/care, rate/tear) counts, as the backwardsness is phonetic and not orthographic. Apparently the poet/scholar Lewis Turco (Turko Files?!) would classify these pairs as amphisbaenic, so I think I'm in the clear. So does this random website, which says the writer/critic Edmund Wilson (friend of Fitzgerald & Nabokov) used it, too. Said random website mentions Nabokov, but I can't tell if they're saying he used backward rhyme or not. He'd probably enjoy wordplay like this, though."


btw: V To EW on first reading Wilson's amphisbaenic poem: " At first my brain was somewhat numbed by your somnambulistic numbers, Edmund". A few exchanges later, with VN playing with T.S Eliot/toilest and some of the Kinbote/Hazel variants, dear Bunny himself felt numbed by Volodya.
google-note: AMPHISBAENIC RHYME: A poetic structure invented by Edmund Wilson Wilson in which final words in strategic lines do not rhyme in the traditional sense, but rather reverse their order of consonants and vowels to appear backwards. For example, Wilson writes:

But tonight I come lone and belated--
Foreseeing in every detail,
And resolved for a day to sidestep
My friends and their guests and their pets.

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