Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Morning Quote: Peter Elbow on Poetry and Rules

Robert Frost said that writing poetry without rhyme is like playing tennis without a net. And that having to rhyme helped him to think of words and even ideas.... Consider the writing of a poem as the playing of a game, getting the ball through a hoop, a technical problem to be solved. It may seem very unpoetic but it leads to better luck with poems.

What you need for writing poems then is some interesting games to play, that is, some interesting rules you must obey. Allen Tate once described a poet as someone "willing to come under the bondage of limitations—if he can find them."

—Peter Elbow, Writing with Power