To new beginnings

I’m going to do something a little selfish with my first blog post and just ramble a bit about how I currently feel about poetry. Hopefully, this will serve as a baseline for myself, a point of reflection for my future self, and maybe I’ll have a good laugh about how naive I am come the end of the semester.

To be the teeniest bit more precise, I’d like to take this time to riff and philosophize a little on what I’m fairly certain will be a common thread for all our poetry discussions: “Form is never more than an extension of content.”

Let’s take a logical approach because why not? There are two terms here that we have to piece together definitions for: form and content. Form, to the best of my knowledge, is the shape of something. How something looks, in other words.  Although visual appeal on paper is extremely important (after all, you can’t read something without physically looking at it), I tend to fall in a more metaphysical space with how I feel about form. When I hear the word, I picture a blob, amorphous and malleable, in my head. It’s like an imagined collective physicality I apply to the words on the page. Form is the shape of an idea in my mind. Writer’s carve out sections with diction or syntax or grammar, splash color on it with color-laced words like lobster or lily pads, bruise it with punches and lashes of punctuation or line breaks, and, lastly, mold and hold together with the fine hand of craft. I like to see form when I write. I like to make people see form when they read my work.

I was hoping to add a lick of conflict to whatever this is by disagreeing even if just for the sake of making this post more interesting, but I can’t really. Content is just the substance that makes up that blob. If your content’s clay, the form better be sculpted. If your content’s stone or ice, the form better be chiseled or cracked. If your content’s your own body, punch yourself square in the jaw and put you back together with your poetry. Or subvert my expectations! Take control of your content, make your form submit, and force readers to see your content in the form you want them to see.

Now, I just have to wait twelve weeks to see how my thoughts develop. But this post is a nice, little seed, I think.

One Reply to “To new beginnings”

  1. Daniel,
    How interesting that you wrote this a day before the workshop where we all personally riffed in our journals about how we conceive of form (9/5).
    It’s interesting that you conceive of form as a blob, because I always tended to think of it as a glass container–taking many shapes, but immutable or unchangeable in whatever form it as at a given time. My view of form, then, has been rigid.
    Your analysis of form as the container and content as the contained is how I usually think of form too. I hope that our exercise was as interesting to you as it proved to me, in that I’ve tried to start conceiving of form with more open boundaries than before.
    Hopefully this “seed” post will continue to grow throughout the semester! And hopefully all our collective “seeds” of how we conceive of form will be stretched and grown as the semester continues.

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