Monday, 25 March 2013

How Do You Create Beauty in Poetry?

For James Langer, beauty is a principle one abides by best when quarreling against it:  
Beneath all of the divisions within poetry—all the schools and mantras and ideals of form—poetry’s first principle, the thing at its compositional core, is variation. That supersedes all else, in my opinion. Whether we’re avant-garde or new in the old-fashioned way, to paraphrase Frost, I believe we can agree on that core. Verse means turning, and that refers, I think, to more than just considering your line breaks. It’s a contingent idea of beauty, variation. To play with and against what has been deemed beautiful through the tradition. To create something that is recognizable and different simultaneously. And then to offer that thing up to the court of opinion and argument. The whole tradition, with its giants, as we understand it and agree and disagree with it, has been one big argument about what’s beautiful, trying to set and reset and adjust the terms, trying to come to agreements.
(Illustration by Javier Pacheco.)  

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