‘Poems are poems because…’

‘Poems are poems because we want to listen to them. Some poems have a prominent argument; some poems don’t. But all poems live or die on their capacity to lure us from their beginnings to their ends by a pattern of sounds. This is why a poem we don’t understand may seem wonderfully satisfying, and this is why a poem we understand all too well may also seem wonderfully satisfying. A poem may harness the power of meter, rhyme, syntax, and line to establish and disrupt a pattern of sounds, and a poem may with equal integrity reject the power of meter, rhyme, syntax and line. But the poet needs to understand what she is rejecting as well as what she is harnessing. Every poem is based at least implicitly on a choice to do something rather than something else, and, as a result, every poem takes power from its exclusions as well as its inclusions.’

– James Longenbach, The Art of the Poetic Line


One Response to ‘Poems are poems because…’

  1. Pingback: Rhyme « ofsol

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