Friday, November 10, 2006

Some half-conceived swipes at American prosody. Since Watts and Dickinson we've been a common-time country; eight six eight six. Problem is, that's a jewelry box that wants to slam shut and most examples aren't that tight. (Ben Friedlander gets it right.) Another thing: mostly we write in triplets, anapests or dactyls doesn't really matter which, it tends either to doggerel or the prosaic. Great opportunity for a young poet -- get rhythm.


Some example-free observations. A quality I admire in Anselm's poetry is how he'll stretch a sentences over a few lines, a few beats farther than I expect. Ali uses parallel clauses to propel a narrative, just like I do. Rae Armantrout and Laura Kasischke write short-line verse paragraphs that hit me like violin cadenzas. This is probably more about prose rhythm and emphatic closure.

Many poems in the new Cimarron Review go farther than I expected -- longer lines, more thorough (essayish?) investigations of the subjects at hand. Same quality in the longer work in the new double Combo -- Drew's and Stan Apps's poems, but also David Trinidad's "A Poem Under the Influence."

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I'm Jordan Davis.
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