Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Morning Quote: William Stafford on What Makes a Successful Poem

[R]eaders do not like to extend credit to poets: a poem must have early rewards. It must be eventful in language; there must be early and frequent verbal events. Content, or topic, is not nearly enough, of course. A poem is an experience in the reading or hearing; the eventfulness of a poem comes in the experience of the reader. And in those events for the reader there must be coherence; one experience must relate to and enhance the next, and so on. Readers should not be loaded with more information and guidance than a lively mind needs—puzzlement can be accepted, but insulting clarity is fatal to a poem.

—William Stafford, You Must Revise Your Life

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