Tag Archives: syntax

The Gargoyles’ Grin

In 1915, Wallace Stevens offered Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry (the magazine), several poems that included Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock. “She returned them… finding them ‘recondite, erudite, provocatively obscure… all with ‘a kind of modern-gargoyle grin to them,’” writes Stevens … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prosodic Moments in Poeisis

In English, the difficulty of perceiving even brief isosyllabic lines as rhythmically equivalent is aggravated by the inordinate power of stressed syllables… The mashup of mystification about versifying that’s available online furnishes what I call Prosodic Moments — when phraseology … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poetry Frisson

The poem is “That Other” by Joyce Carol Oates (Poetry*, July/August 2020). Reading this miniature is like encountering a firm pack of beach after jogging on dry sand. The poem is accessible while allusive, and wry. It crystallizes for me, … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About the Stag

The poem is “Entire Known World So Far” by Carl Phillips (Poetry, July/August 2020). I share thoughts about my readings with a correspondent who returned the following in email: The part of the poem you copied out – where it … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Makes a Poem ‘Hard’?

“Syntax” is the answer to the fudgy question. It’s hard to reach image and reference through muddy syntax. In narrative and exposition, context comes to the rescue; in poetry often not, because a poet revels in flare-gunning lap dance moon … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does a Poem Teach? Fluidity

Excerpts are from the poem “A Future History” by Suzi L. Garcia (Poetry, March 2020). A muster of peacocks show off their tails, but instead of feathers, knives. This line introduces me to “muster,” a collective noun applied to peacocks. … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manifestoid 1 of 2

A correspondent writes: Watched the lunchtime news, it veers between positivity and warnings that leaves the head spinning and the heart pumping. In that last sentence, should it be ‘leave’ or ‘leaves’. I had ‘leaves’ because it is the veering … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Quotations | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

They Says It

the tru-est words they says is that there are no per se true words for it for ev-‘ry thing has a no-thing if a sin-gle per-son ut-ter it they is the ip-so fac-to ut-ter-er of it if a sin-gle per-son … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cutting Slack

Rather than fostering some new sense of civic unity, the virus is just as likely to worsen inequality further [my bolding]. (Farhad Manjoo, “San Francisco Beat the Virus. But It’s Still Breaking My Heart,” NYTimes, 5-13-20) Calling out infelicities of … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Quotations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Forebode”? Verboten!

But some religious authorities, too, have acted with anti-adaptive zeal. In my own Catholicism, the diocese of Raleigh, N.C., didn’t just cancel Masses and close churches; it forebode [my bolding] its priests to attempt experiments like drive-through confessions that might … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Quotations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment