An Author's Assemblage: Brief Notes and Notices

The accumulation of posts to this web page serves merely as an author’s assemblage of brief notes and notices: the collection of informal bits of information, quotations, and observations gathered as one way to display a personal reflection of perceptions on poetry, publication, and related selections of material drawn from my perspectives as a poet or professor of literature and creative writing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

C.K. Williams: Admiration of Form in Poetry

“In poetry, formal necessities occur in terms of the movement of the language in its relation to more or less limiting metrical necessities, and then in larger structures of line and stanza, and the various formal organizations such as sonnet, sestina, and the broader conventions, such as elegy or pastoral. The important thing about form, though, is its artificiality. In English poetry, the historically dominant iambic foot is closely related to the actual movement of the voice in our language between stressed and unstressed syllables, but the regularity of the iambic line, and the five beats of the pentameter, for instance, are purely conventional. In regular, or ‘free’ verse, where the cadences are not regular, and not counted, it is what Galway Kinnell has called the ‘rhythmic surge’ that defines and controls the movement of language across its grid of artifice; the line in free verse becomes a much more defining factor of formal organization than in more arithmetical verse-traditions.” —From “Admiration of Form” by C.K. Williams in his book, Poetry and Consciousness (University of Michigan Press, 1998)

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