a poem should not just be a ransacking of words

Reading a wide swath of poets and poetry is essential to becoming a better poet, as is a knowledge of formal technique, but I won’t say it is everything. A poem should not just be a ransacking of words. A good poem, if it is a good poem, may use assonance, alliteration, and internal rhyme in considerable ways, yet these are only the joists propping up a poem’s deeper emotional or ideological centre. Where exactly this centre lies is often unknown, or at least shifting...

As a poet, I am constantly trying to articulate what lies just outside on the periphery of vision; to put into words the world I see and the one I hear—that place where "the other voice" resides. And perhaps it is this seeking, as much as any amount of reading, or study of craft, that has taught me the most of what I know of poetry today.

- Chris Banks, from his essay "Falling in Love with Poetry: A Bird's-eye View" in the Summer/Fall 2004 Edition of The New Quarterly. You can read the whole essay, which Chris has recently posted on his blog, here.

1 comment:

Pearl said...

thanks for that reference. good reading at Chris' blog.