a blast shadow from history

What’s to say about the sonnet. I am attracted to its no-holds challenge to composition. It says, “Here’s a squarish block of text on a white field in which something or, more likely, nothing will occur. Are you up to it?” It gets strange here as, obviously, there is no real “block of text” anywhere present before one writes a sonnet–except perhaps there is; a blast shadow from history, a kind of dimly perceived ‘dark matter’-sonnet that can serve as a vessel or threat or foil. Not wanting this to shade into an ugly species of existential athleticism, there’s a game or risk or pressure inherent in knowing the end is on its way. Which is to say constraint does appeal to me, as does history; and perhaps more so the volta. You walk into the stagnant murk and that leech just seems to find the soft flesh between line 8 and 9, give or take.

- Ken Babstock, from an interview with Sina Queyras over at the Harriet blog. He also has some great comments on the music v. meaning wrastling match, but a boy can only quote so much. Read the whole thing here.

[Update: Lemon Hound has posted the other quote I mentioned here. But honestly, just read the whole thing already...]

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