Form: how it happens to us

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.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s