Form is a word used to explain the cause of poetry. This use creates lots of confusion. Wittgenstein can help here. Following W, we can say that form does not explain the cause-and-effect logic of understanding, but form, as it emerges from our reading of the poem, is the reason —- the cause —- the why we search for the cause of the poem. Once we turn this around, we can accept the futility of explanation. There are as many causes as there are ways of proceeding to write a given poem. Our concern is with the emergence of form in our experience of the poem. How it happens to us.
Published by Tom D'Evelyn
Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Portland OR and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at email@example.com. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites. View all posts by Tom D'Evelyn