What Form Can Do for a Poem

If poetry is a matter of sounds, then sound must be the basic unit of form. Putting it another way, what do assonance, alliteration, rhyme, meter, rhythm – all of the tools in the toolbox used for constructing form in poetry – have in common? All of them, in their different ways, create recognizable patterns […]

Formal Poetry… Really?

If the history of Western literature were compressed into a single day, Homer would declaim the opening lines of The Iliad on the stroke of midnight; Dante would climb out of Hell at 6 pm; Chaucer would ride for Canterbury at 7; Shakespeare and Milton would follow them across life’s stage two hours after that. These and […]

Sound and Sense in a Poem — Part 2

On a snowy January day, years ago, I was looking for a sales slip in order to exchange a Christmas gift. As I sorted through the mess on my desk (the clutter in my study having reached Mephistophelian proportions), there was a thought in the front of my mind, that I had seen the slip […]

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