“But did you MEAN to write it that way?” Two

from The Art of Syntax

The making of a poem is not a performance but an adventure, an act of discovery. Most poets of high formal appetite often do perceive, in advance of the concrete materials of the poem, some shape or heft or tone or set of means—what Susanne Langer calls a “formal apprehension.” […] The more alert and experienced the poet, the more numerous those options have been, whether in the heat of composition or in later revision, whether self-conscious or intuitive. The intuition, after all, was tutored by the many poems the poet had previously read and written, their many choices.

It doesn’t matter whether the analytical left brain decides or the “intuitive” right brain: both belong to the poet.


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