The Musical Flesh of Form

The grammar of form branches into concepts of perfection: we say of an athlete, she has perfect form on the high beam. In describing lyrics we may spontaneously express ourselves in hyperbolic terms of perfection.

Then too, on the creative side, the process of composition has a transcendent diagonal that indirectly pushes the poet toward perfection, almost never acknowledged as such.

Perfection as a goal internal to composition shows its influence in the voice/voices as realized by the poem. The poet herself is implicated in this final sound both as auditor and musician.

In its embeddedness in culture and cultural values including hierarchies and proportions, the self of the poet is musical. In this the poet is representatively human. Indeed all flesh is musical and sustained by principles and powers we cannot reduce to thought.

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.

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