Monday, 17 September 2018

Poets on form

I've done a write-up of "Ecstatic occasions, expedient forms", David Lehman (ed) (Univ of Michigan, 1996) in which poets explain their forms. A mixed bag of scientific and mystical explanations -

  • "Since it is not my custom to capitalize the initial word of each line, I decided to experiment with this convention"
  • "it's foolish to think a line should break so that the reader might rest or so an end word can shiver and throb in order to call more attention to itself"
  • "I broke the poem into quatrains for the purpose of making a better shape on the page"
  • "an eight-syllable line with no regular meter, no counting of stresses. It is almost free verse broken into an arbitrary length. ... I like this form because it leaves the musical cadence almost entirely free to follow the content. ... yet has some of the surface tension of regularity. "

etc. Some of the poets decided not to mention the form even though it was overt.

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