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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...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


What are your moves?

If I think of Wordworth, I know he has certain moves that he uses consistently. The Shakespearian / Miltonic enjambment that creates a rocking movement from line to line. The way of ending a phrase with two latinate words, like "abundant restoration." A certain trope, whose name I don't know, that consists of using two adjectives close in meaning to each other in close proximity:, like "steep and lofty." This trope has Shakepearian resonance, if we consider lines from Hamlet like "led by a delicate and tender prince."

A vocabulary is not just a set of words, but a set of moves or devices, of ways of making phrases and sentences. Marjorie Perloff will introduce a quote with an imperative: "Consider the following passage:... " I know I have my own moves as well. It would be good to have a certain self-awareness about them.

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