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This feature can stand as a definition of poetry", Antony Easthope, "Poetry as Discourse", Methuen,p. When I say there's nothing sentimental about a poem I mean that there can be no part, as in any other machine, that is redundant. Poetry is therefore primarily a commemorative act" - " Sonnets", Don Paterson, Faber and Faber,p.
Richards "a poem shouldn't mean but be", Archibald MacLeish, "Ars Poetica" "to write a poem is to find a way from exile into pilgrimage" - Gunn? But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things", T.
Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent", Wilson, "Relevance", Blackwell,p. SebeckCambridge,p. The poem is an original and unique creation, but it is also reading and recitation: The poet creates it; the people, by recitation, re-create it. Poet and reader are two moments of a single reality. Nor does the supposed rich excess of meaning provide a useful means of defining poetic language, since the reader can readily supply that excess in the act of reading", "Studying Poetry", S.
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Jones, Arnold,p. That is, poetry may be demanding to read because we think of a poem as a powerful, concentrated use of all the resources of language", "Studying Poetry", S. When the art in question is literature a complication arises, for to 'receive' significant words is always, in one sense, to 'use' them, to go through and beyond them to an imagined something which is not itself verbal", p.
Form back to top "I broke the poem into quatrains for the purpose of making a better shape on the page", Paul Hoover, "Ecstatic occasions, expedient forms, David Lehman ed Univ of Michigan, " "I chose couplets because they require clarity of image or statement to work at all. I chose a variable pentameter line for its declarative potential", Lawrence Joseph, "Ecstatic occasions, expedient forms, David Lehman ed Univ of Michigan, " "The absence of punctuation Doing without it, in my mind, maintains a living line to the spoken word and its intonations and motions, which do the work of punctuation themselves", W.
Merwin, "Ecstatic occasions, expedient forms, David Lehman ed Univ of Michigan, " "Light verse adhered to rhyme and metrical strictness long after serious poets had gone the way of vers libre, and for a good reason: The regular meter of formal poems is not a dull mechanical ticking, like a clock's; it coalesces out of the rhythms of randomly jotted phrases through a process of 'phase-locking'", Paul Lake, "The Shape of Poetry", The Winter Anthology, V2 "[for Pareyson] structure is absolved, but on the grounds that it does not harm the poetry, not because it too is poetry.
Structure functions as a buoy to which the poetic swimmer clings: The shortness of line constricts, in a sense, the breadth of your movement", Seamus Heaney, "Ploughshares, 5, 3",p. The Ultimate Guide", palgrave macmillan,p. It is largely untaught - except in rather pointless exercises in which students write a sestina or a vilanelle - and most critics of contemporary poetry seem largely uninterested in it", David Kennedy, "The Ekphrastic Encounter in Contemporary British Poetry ", Ashgate Publishing,p.
Auden "Form exists for us only as long as it is difficult to perceive, as long as we sense the resistance of the material", Jackobson, "The Newest Russian Poetry","The Acrostick was probably invented about the same Time with the Anagram, tho' it is impossible to decide whether the Inventor of the one or the other were the greater Blockhead ", Addison, "The Spectator", "the numerical patterning of language in verse encourages creative play with gaps among the aural, the graphic, and the numerical", David J.
Versification is inherently a way of asserting the relatedness of words and therefore also of things to one another", David J. The expert guide", Robert Hale,p.
Many excellent syllabics-controlled poems offer occasional miscounted lines", Claire Crowther, "Syllabics: It must contain 14 lines and a man must be a tremendous poet or a cold mathematician if he can accommodate his thoughts to such a condition", Edward Thomas "Personally I enjoy writing in a form first, then playing the same set of words through variations of different forms, lengthening the poem, shortening it, until it either 'clicks' into the right form Robert Frost againor decides that it wants to be 'free' verse.
The move into free verse is always a pleasant surprise for a poem that has passed through so many cages and narrow ways. And such a poem bears the voice-print of strictness and discipline while also appearing to be merely spoken, inevitably, as if improvised on the spot. Your working must never show.
Art must conceal art", David Morley "Form is content-as-arranged; content is form-as-deployed", Helen Vendler "Can form make the primary chaos Can form go even further than that and actually generate that potency, opening uncertainty to curiosity, incompleteness to speculation, and turning vastness into plentitude? Form does not necessarily achieve closure, nor does raw materiality provide openness", Lyn Hejinian in "Moving Borders", Mary Margaret Sloan edTalisman House,p.
Wildness and Domesticity, Harper and Row,p. Since lines are not linguistic units, they must be produced by other than the normal linguistic processes, and I will show that this is why lines take on 'poetic' characteristics", Nigel Fabb, "Why is Verse Poetry", PN Review, V Indeed they demand them.
For if new contents were forced into old forms, at once you would have a recurrence of that disastrous division between content and form", Brecht, "Uber Lyrik",p. The content of a poem may be personal to the point of narcissism, self-involved to the point of autism, but its form - that is, any feature that gives the poem cohesion and keeps it from drifting into chaos - is communal, inclusive, even cordial. Outsiders may see formal composition as rule-fixated grind: I have heard it said that the least talented writers benefit the most from practising form.
This is only partly true That most symmetrical forms have certain uses. That a vast number of subjects cannot be precisely, and therefore not properly rendered in symmetrical forms", Ezra Pound, "A Retrospect" in Literary Essays of Ezra Pound "vers libre has not even the excuse of a polemic; it is a battle-cry of freedom, and there is no freedom in art", T.
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Eliot, "Reflections on Vers Libre" "I began to suspect that the vaunted strictures of the New Formalism were rather like the rules in a household with small children: Adams, "Rialto 38",p. It has long been recognised that metrical verse encourages a tendency towards reflection and introspection while free verse acts as a vehicle for expressing the immediate, capturing the sense of the moment as it happens", Ian Parks, p.
The metre always fixes the length of the line with controlled variation In English, stress maxima are fixed in place. In Welsh, rhyme is fixed in place. In poetry the answers come not as arguments but as form" - Schmidt, "Lives of the Poets",p.
I propose that the nature and primary function of the most important poetic devices - especially rhyme, meter, and metaphor - is to release words in some measure from their bondage to meaning, their purely referential role, and to give or restore to them the corporeality which a true medium needs. The device itself will be parodied, distorted, or avoided in such a way as to make its absence very remarkable", "The Chances of Rhyme", R.
Wesling, Univ of California Press, I think more of a bird with broad wings flying and lapsing through the air, than anything, when I think of metre It all depends on the pause - the natural pause, the natural lingering of the voice according to the feeling - it is the hidden emotional pattern that makes poetry, not the obvious form", D H Lawrence, letter to Edward Marsh "Forms are unlike those sent by the IR, they are not to be filled in" - Alan Rawsthorne "Form is regarded not as a neat mould to be filled, but rather as a sieve to catch certain kinds of material", Theodore Roethke, in "A Poet's Guide to Writing Poetry", Mary Kinzie, p.
What Coleridge proposed as a dynamic supplement, in his idea of method as 'progressive translation', is a logic of the activity of thinking Such patterns - of expectation, delay, and resolution - exercise the grasp of grammar and the delicacy of anyone's ear.
Stravinsky maintained that only in art could one be freed by the imposition of more rules, perhaps because these rules limit the field of possibilities and escort us rapidly beyond the selection of tools and media to laying the first stone of the work itself.
For the reader, on the other hand, the shared language of the poem functions as a map through the terrain of a new idea The effect of form on the reader is like the hypnotist's dangling fob watch We are hypnotised or spellbound by form, because the traditional aural techniques of verse But think of the unconscious effect of form on the poets themselves In the European system the beat is fundamental, but still the two never correspond.
This sets up a descant. The natural rhythm of the spoken language, that is the rhythm of syntax, of meaning, also never or nearly never coincides with the metrical units even for a single line.
When is does so, it produces the gigantic clang of a final closure But sometimes the ground-rhythm is very obscurely established; in that case the moment it becomes clear is an important and tense one", "The Noise Made by Poems", Peter Levi, Anvil,p. In the one case, the Reader is utterly at the mercy of the Poet, respecting what imagery or diction he may choose to connect with the passion; whereas, in the other, the metre obeys certain laws, to which the Poet and Reader both willingly submit because they are certain, and because no interference is made by them with the passion, but such as the concurring testimony of ages has shown to heighten and improve the pleasure which co-exists with it.
Two differences between a Modernist coupling and a traditional coupling involve the assumption of nondeleted syntax and accurate 'positioning' through meter" p. Childs, Associated University Presses, A work has form insofar as one part of it leads us to anticipate another part, to be gratified by the sequence", Kenneth Burke, "Counter-statement", "Forms can only expose other forms, and the new ones seem transparent only by highlighting the opaqueness of the old", ra page, "hyphen", Comma Press,p.
In a few exceptional cases, this manly independence produces something original and impressive, but more often the result is squalor - dirty sheets on the unmade bed and empty bottles on the unswept floor.
McH,in B. All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory and defeat Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross the battlefields, tending the wounded They bring a kind of peace", John Berger, "and our faces, my heart, brief as photos" Bloomsbury,p. I'd say that prose definitely kills off poetry rather than the other way. Although it depends what kind of prose", Jackie Kay, "The Poetry Paper", Issue 8 "Gothic novels were strong fromsporting novels seem to run from towhile imperial romances run from thoughand so on for over 40 genres.
The public library was a natural supplement to the common school in the realm of popular culture; it was a substitute for the town hall in the realm of political education.
One function of the librarian, as he saw it, was to blunt the edge of these differences and to provide a means whereby the rich and poor could live happily side by side. The public library was a great leveler, supplying a literature by which the ordinary man could experience some of the pleasures of the rich, and providing a common ground where employer and employee could meet on equal terms.
As it happened there was a fairly close identity among the requirements of national prosperity, the needs of the new dominant industrial middle class, and the tenets of flourishing individualistic philosophies. Divisive tendencies, having their origins in prejudices of race, section, nationality, creed and class, were present indeed.
It was hoped that these could be eased, or perhaps erased, by establishing agencies of enlightenment for adult and youth alike. Kevin Mattson, Creating a Democratic Public: Press,p. A democratic public forms when citizens gather together to deliberate and make public judgments about local and national issues that affect their lives.
By associating together for public discussion, citizens learn the skills necessary for the health of a democratic public; listening persuading, arguing, compromising, and seeking common ground. When these skills are nurtured within the institutions of a democratic public, citizens educate themselves in order to make informed political decisions.
Ideas and information are certainly available elsewhere, but no other agency or organization can guarantee such a wide accessibility to ideas of all kinds that will be free of charge to all its customers. As several authors have pointed out, private media have their own agendas, which usually involve disseminating only those ideas that are popular, sensational, or can be fit neatly into a thirty-second sound bite.
As a result, private media often do not provide the kind of in-depth and comprehensive access to all ideas that can be found in a public library. Without this kind of accessibility provided somewhere within society, the danger of tyranny increases. Without political leaders articulating this idea and acting upon it, public life and citizenship will continue to stagnate.
How can we reinforce the fundamental tenet that censorship is just plain unAmerican, that it erodes the freedoms the Constitution guarantees, and that it is inimical to our democratic Republic? When censors are not convinced by either our arguments or the record of our history as a free people then how can we frustrate and deter their efforts without shutting off their right to free speech. Thomas Jefferson has been cited in establishing the link between literacy and democracy: An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.
At the ALA conference it was fairly well agreed that the primary goal of the public library must be to teach good citizenship. Thus, teaching immigrants to read was not just a benefit in and of itself; literacy would also serve the interests of democracy.
Neal-Schuman,p. Approximately half of the eligible voters voted in the most recent presidential election; far fewer vote in local elections and often less than 10 percent of the voters may participate in primary elections.
Mechanisms designed to educate and inform citizens about the issues that are of concern to them and to increase citizen knowledge of governmental processes should be used in local communities.
Meetings, forums, and workshops can be held that are jointly sponsored by several groups such as a public library, a college or university, a government agency and several local citizen groups. The involvement of citizen groups is important because they have high credibility among their constituent groups. These forums could be public policy issue oriented—public forums on nuclear energy, education issues, taxation or toxic wastes—and include how to obtain information on a specific public policy issue.
Forums might also be developed around the political process or governmental structure with which a citizen must interact if concerned with a particular problem. Yet at the same time, local, state and federal agencies are mandated to include citizen opinion in decision making.
Citizen opinion in mandated participation is most often sought too late to obtain anything but approval from ignorance or obnoxious opposition.
Only informed citizens can be active participants in the decision-making process. If we assume that citizens have difficulty in obtaining some of the information they need to become informed citizens, and if we further assume that one of the mandates of the public library is to develop an informed citizenry, they the library needs to bear some responsibility for increasing citizen access to the public policy information that is difficult to obtain.
Public libraries can play a role in increasing the access of citizens to vital public policy information. They employ more information specialists—professionals who are trained to find, organize and dis p. However, before public libraries can assume a meaningful role in the process, they must understand the problems that citizens face in gaining access to information that exists in communities.
The Citizen Group Information Study sheds some light on the access problem. Of course libraries that plan to provide public policy information service need to know the types of information that citizen group leaders look for and where they go to obtain information.
However, the key to providing greater access to public policy information cannot be found without knowledge of the barriers to access that are presently encountered by those who seek to participate in community decision making. Effective citizen action is possible if citizens develop the abilities to gain access to information of all kinds and the skills to put such information to effective use.
A Return to Citizen Politics. The Free Press, The success of contemporary citizen activism in a variety of contexts depends upon the ability to ferret out key information, often against the efforts of powerful interests to restrict information access. From the parent who worries about local school dropout rates to the rancher fighting to preserve the open range from energy conglomerates, from community activists organizing around toxic waste to small businesspeople trying to increase the pool of resources available in their areas for entrepreneurial start-up projects, people need information to act.
Studies of grass-roots leaders have found that the most successful have developed considerable talents at gaining access to information and to the organizing skills that facilitate action. The Free Press,p. In effective, sustained citizen action, people learn the skills of public life with which to act effectively. It highlights the disenfranchisement of the citizenry from the foundations of public knowledge, from information to skills to concepts essential for coping effectively with a fast-changing world, and the need to create ways to address the problem.
A dynamic education for democracy and citizenship must take place in many settings in our society, and not simply in formal educational institutions or large-scale citizen groups. In the coming years we need to experiment with a variety of new public forums, instruments, civic resource centers, and community commons through which the basic concepts and arts of public life can be relearned by the citizenry. However, if we are to approach other organizations to propose alliances for the public good, we must be prepared to assert a far more important role for the library.
We must clearly define what we do and establish and assert the relationship of libraries to basic democratic freedoms, to the fundamental humanistic principles that are central to our very way of life. Neal-Schuman Publishers,p. We want and believe we must have a society in which democratic freedoms, such as the right of access to information, are safeguarded and guaranteed. We believe this, because, among other reasons, libraries need such a framework in order to function effectively.
It is therefore the mission and purpose of the library to support those principles not just within individual libraries but in our society. If people are not free to associate; to gain access to neighborhoods, business establishments, or places of entertainment; if they can not buy a house because of their color or religion; all these restrictions have a deep and direct bearing on the way libraries operate in a democratic society.
The challenge to us is to continue to help them see it in those terms to describe our larger purposes. We must assert that libraries are central to the quality of life in our society; that libraries have a direct role in preserving democratic freedoms.
Free access to information and the opportunity of every individual to improve his or her mind, employment prospects, and lifestyle are fundamental rights in our society. In the continuing struggle to establish and maintain democratic values, free public libraries are essential for providing information and knowledge, enhancing individual growth, easing the transition from youth to maturity, and setting people on the road to wisdom.
Our society has faith in reading as a Good Thing that leads to desirable ends, and it believes reading has the power to alter people for the better.