Spring 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 2 Nonfiction |

The Craft of Thought: The Sentence in Contemporary Poetry

Craft: in its original sense, the word meant strength; subsequent meanings included intellectual skill, artistry, deception, and sorcery. All of these meanings apply to poetry, and they ought to apply as well to that necessary engine of thinking in poems—the sentence. Yet for all that has been written in the last few decades about the writing of poetry, surprisingly little has been written about sentences. In guide books, textbooks, and collections of essays, the various categories and components of poems are given their due: image, which subsumes rhetorical categories of metaphor, metonymy ("concrete detail") and simile; and line, which subsumes the discussion of free verse and meter; and poetic forms both free and formal—found poem, sonnet, list poem, villanelle, and so on. Even in the books whose authors aim for the most impartial and inclusive of stances, the sense that free verse and formal verse are two roads diverged remains explicitly implicit. And yet the crucial elemen

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Craft: in its original sense, the word meant strength; subsequent meanings included intellectual skill, artistry, deception, and sorcery. All of these meanings apply to poetry, and they ought to apply […]

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