Response to George Szirtes

One of George Szirtes claims on form in poetry is that it serves as “an act of triumph of meaning and structure over chaos and meaningless, and also with the triumph of civilized values over barbarity.” He then goes on to describe the process of creating form within a poem as “cooking with the raw materials we are given,” which really stood out to me in particular. Form is important to poetry because it allows you to look at words and develop deeper understandings of them within a line. Words on their own don’t have a lot of meaning beyond what we assign to them when we hear them for the first time. Poetic form allows us to take those raw meanings, simplistic on their own, and turn them into something with more sustenance. To take words and put them in order is crucial to the life of the poem.  Without form, it would be words on a page, nothing courageous or graceful to be revealed. I agree with Szirtes that while language it magnificent, it is not necessarily well disposed to us. We are not born with the innate ability to make sense of words on a page, much less assign meaning to every piece of language we come in contact with. Therefore form serves a way of neatly organizing those words, of allowing meanings to arise by the reader within a line. Prior to reading this article, I have always considered form to be a confining aspect of poetry, but now I am under the impression that it’s may be the starting point for all poetry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.