What We Expect Of The Poet: Something Interesting (2015-07-16)

What We Expect Of The Poet: Something Interesting (2015-07-16)

"The Nature Of The Perfect Poem 

The perfect poem has to have a very definite beginning and end, for it has to be a whole, complete onto itself. And it has to include all of life within it, as this is the subject of all poetry. And yet it has to be extremely concise, for this is an important criterion for perfection in poetry. And it has to be highly symmetrical, for balance is necessary to perfection. And it must evoke a universal emotion, for poetry without emotion is unsatisfying. And it must also engage the intellect by making a significant philosophical statement, for poetry without intelligence is equally unsatisfying. And it should have visual and auditory aspects to it, for it is through these two senses that we primarily encounter the world. And its sound must match its sense, for this is how the best poems work.

All these criteria are fairly widely accepted. It is interesting that when you put them together as a set of guidelines, and then use these guidelines to create a perfect poem, this perfect poem really isn't very exciting. Is it possible that one criterion has been omitted, one that can over-ride, negate even, all the other criteria: that the poem must be interesting?!"

(Excerpt from my book Cold Pigging Poetics)

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