Monday, November 07, 2005

Making Bad Poems Evocative

Here's another intriguing passage from Roethke, this time from an essay titled "Some Remarks on Rhythm:"

It's nonsense, of course, to think that memorableness in poetry comes solely from rhetorical devices, or the following of certain sound patterns, or the contrapunctual rhythmical effects. We all know that poetry is shot through with appeals to the unconsciousness, to the fears and desires that go far back into our childhood, into the imagination of the race. And we know that some words, like hill, plow, mother, window, bird, fish, are so drenched with human association, they sometimes can make even bad poems evocative.

(Theodore Roethke, On the Poet and His Craft: Selected Prose of Theodore Roethke (edited by Ralph J. Mills Jr.), 1965 at 80.)

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