More thoughts from Judson Jerome's The Poet's Handbook (see ^zhurnal IambicHonesty1 (23 April 2001) and IambicHonesty3 (6 May 2001)) ...

On rhyme and its risks:

Much poor writing gets by as free verse. Ineptitudes or obscurities may be attributed to creativity by editors of generous mind. But sloppiness shows more quickly in rhymed verse. Some poets seem to think that if they can just get lines to rhyme, their job is done. The truth is quite the opposite. Rhyme has such a powerful effect in poetry that it immediately stands out when awkwardly used. Use it with caution and caring, toning it down, smoothing it over, keeping it from embarrassing you like a show-off child. (Chap. 8, "The Sculp of Rhyme")

On sonnets:

The sonnet form has become so universal in European and American culture since its invention in thirteenth-century Italy that it seems almost to be some mysterious embodiment of the shape of human thought. Studying it will help you understand that writing poetry is not a matter of following rules, for the fascination of the sonnet, like the fascination of meter, results from the strain of content against the form. Nothing is fixed. There are no rules. Yet there is enough consistency in the way poets return and return to the form that one can discern beneath the infinite variation some inalterable essence, 'a something white, uncertain,' one might say. I will come back to that quotation. (Chap. 10, "The Shape of Human Thought")

On "sensationalism" in modern poetry:

That is the cultural climate you must cope with as a poet. It is a cultural climate in which people grow accustomed to walking by examples of modern painting or sculpture, or to hearing modern music without looking for or expecting any human connection, any relevance to their lives. It is not polite to ask what art is about or to ask that it be melodic or moving or memorable. The same sophisticated indifference carries over to poetry. One simply accepts incomprehensibility as though it were an indication of quality. Art thus becomes decoration, a kind of screaming wallpaper. Music becomes blended into the background noise of industrial society. And poetry is, like particle physics, or graphs, or economic indices, a gray blur, intended, presumably, for specialists. (Chap. 14, "Into the Maelstrom")

Friday, April 27, 2001 at 05:48:02 (EDT) = 2001-04-27


(correlates: IambicHonesty3, LastManStanding, DuringOrEnduring, ...)