Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning Quote: Jeffery Levine on Craft Annotations

[T]he idea behind craft annotations is to learn by close examination and informal analysis just what’s going on inside poems written by others. We hold the pen in our hand as we walk and talk our way through a poem, while trying to pay close attention to just one or two elements of the poet’s craft. We ask ourselves, just how does the poet make this or that transcendence happen on the page? The idea is to become a poetry explorer, and as befits and benefits the role of the explorer, to make discoveries that we can then claim for ourselves – both for our own enlightenment (what are some of the ways in which this poet makes that poem effective?) and for our own use: now how can I employ these elements of craft – these tools from the poet’s tool belt – in order to write better poems?

...Let me say that I’ve always found it helpful when annotating a poem to write the thing out, longhand. There’s no better way to get a tactile feel for what’s going on in a poem.

This series of blog posts by the editor-in-chief of Tupelo Press has been incredibly helpful reading for me—especially as I am just starting to write craft annotations myself—and I recommend it to you highly.

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