The joy of rewriting while the Jury is on break

Having fun this morning doing rewrites of a bit of doggerel I posted on Twitter last night. It’s the Argument for my newly-designed blog poemswithoutborders.com

The blog is devoted to exploring the phenomenon of “freedom” in poetry, how a poem represents moments of acute penetration of a set of circumstances by principles drawn from literary tradition. Poetics as a branch of ethics; the workings of prudence in the mishmash of contingency that constitutes the world as such. In this sense the old notion of equity is paramount in poetics. I first learned about this from that grand old Stanford scholar Wesley Trimpi. I had failed my Masters exam at Berkeley and took a year off for rebooting in Trimpi’s seminar. Couldn’t have done a better thing.

Anyway, here’s the latest incarnation of the epigraph for the new blog:

 

ARGUMENT

The poem’s healing art

Invades the ragged (bleeding?) heart

Breaks down the stupid whole

Of self and frees the soul.

 

The original tweeted early this morning was

The poem’s hearing art

Invades the human heart

Breaks open the closed whole

Of self and saves the soul.

This  has a lot going for it: the rhythms of the final two lines are superior to those of the rewrite. There’s something to be said for the “natural” perhaps faux easiness of the first two lines as they lead into the crash of the last two.

The jury is out.

 

 

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Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Portland OR and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. His blogs include poemswithoutborders.com He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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