Monthly Archives: August 2012

Pattern in Poetry

A paragraph from Stephen Dobyns excellent book, Best Words Best Order, is brimming with such beauty and truth (“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – Keats) that it warrants sharing:

“One of the requirements of a writer and especially a poet is to see things in relation to one another, to observe phenomena in terms of how they link with other phenomena, to be always in quest of metaphor, since to seek metaphor is to seek underlying pattern. To expect pattern among apparently random phenomena is part of the Romantic condition, since it requires a belief if not in unity, then in connection. As human beings, we are problem solvers, imposers of form (our dark side is the destroyer), and part of the pleasure of poetry is that it imposes pattern. The way a poem is created is a metaphor for the ordering of chaos, not only through the use of pattern, but also through structure, which is the presence of a beginning, middle and end. Pattern in poetry is the repetition of two verbal elements to create the expectation of a third. Indeed, the perception of beauty is in part the perception of pattern above the randomness of the world where the only constants are human violence and selfishness, while a perfect joining of form and content may become if not beautiful itself, then a metaphor for the nature of beauty – beauty being concrete evidence of the possibility of perfection.”

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Poetry and eBooks: A Mixed Blessing?

Billy Collins, one of the country’s most popular poets, had never seen his work in e-book form until he recently downloaded his latest collection on his Kindle.

He was unpleasantly surprised.

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