Discipline & Freedom

He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys
Before they drop full Music on --
He stuns you by degrees --
Prepares your brittle Nature
For the Ethereal Blow
By fainter Hammers -- further heard --
Then nearer -- Then so slow
Your Breath has time to straighten --
Your Brain -- to bubble Cool --
Deals -- One -- imperial -- Thunderbolt --
That scalps your naked Soul --

When Winds take Forests in the Paws --
The Universe -- is still --



Wishydig said...

oh yeah? well i've been "reading" "things" for about a decade more than you have, so i think i probably know more about poetry than you will.

Casey said...

Yeah. But do I really need to go back and edit that annoying moment out?

And if you've been reading contemporary poetry for a decade, tell me if I'm right!--a return to forms and formalism?

Wishydig said...

i think there's a fair criticism of contemporary poetry being sometimes just about "looking" like poetry. it's true that a lot of poets do that and little else.

and for too many poets the only difference between prose and poetry is how important each word is.

this then brings up the necessary point: what are the strictures of good poetry? because there are good poets who don't rhyme, and don't use uniform meter. the forms you talk about are good ones.

i don't say it's so much a cycle between form and no form, but different types of form. alliteration. syllabification. slant rhyme. eye rhyme. pace. narrative structure. turns. all that stuff.

i think the best poetry, when studied, shows evidence of deliberation and a self-system. a structure that relies on itself in an effective way. and rhyme and uniform meter are not all that impressive if they're the only system the poem sticks with. but i do think they're a very good way of teaching students to pause and think of some requirement other than 'i want to say this.'

Casey said...


Yes--that! So translated into things like curriculum, that may look like a lot of different things... but it needs to look like a system. Or at least like it's approaching a system.

I get the feeling much of postmodernism is like a Rube Goldberg contraption... fun to watch it develop, but not getting anywhere. It's the "getting somewhere" I'd like to see restored as a part of our pedagogies. Even if ultimately we rely on the student (the "self") to chose the end... or to "reach" the end, anyway.