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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rhythm

A paragraph needs a flowing rhythm. This means varying the length and structure of the sentences, but this cannot be done in a mechanical way, arbitrarily inserting a short sentence after every three long sentences, or following any other formula. In fact, each paragraph should have its own unique rhythm.

You can create a nice effect by giving a series of examples without using the exact same syntactical structure for each one. This is what I've tried to do here:
Lorca’s “Play and Theory of the Duende,” while a very well-known text, does not have a secure place in Spanish intellectual history. It is evidently not a part of the “jejune and uninfluential” canon of “Spanish theory.” Philip Silver does not consider Lorca’s duende in La casa de Anteo, a work devoted to the relation between Spanish poetics and the philosophical tradition arising out of German romanticism. Valente, likewise, fails to recognize Lorca as a thinker or a poet of “integration, fusion, union” in the lineage of Saint John of the Cross—even though Lorca was not an erudite “poet-professor” either. Although the duende lecture is densely allusive and metaphorical, critics have been quick to reduce it to a few key ideas rather than acknowledging its depth and complexity, and hence its privileged place among works dealing with “the inner nature and process of poetry itself.”

3 comments:

Vance Maverick said...

The point being, I think, that the true source of variety is not "length" per se, but syntactic patterns within each sentence. Nothing wrong with short sentences, of course; but they can feel arbitrary, pointlessly theatrical, when used as punctuation.

(Captcha: casmsus, a form of chiasmus.)

profacero said...

This is re content not style -- I reiterate that I am interested in what you have to say about that duende essay.

Jonathan said...

I could share it with you when I'm done with this chapter if I knew your identity. I feel somewhat hesitant about sharing complete chapters with colleagues unless I know who they are.