I'd like to write an essay about musicality in verse.

Diction plays a part in it. Also, the mysterious (to me) space around lines, phrases, stanzas. Space created by emotional intensity, or the obliquity of meaning.

Silence. Rest note. ("Rest Note" - good book title. copyright HG)

Music in poetry like color &/or spatial design in painting(?)

A potential weakness in American poetry : this framing space gets lost when the poet gropes for expansiveness, running-on, getting-it-all-said, tumbling from one joke to the next, "windy discoursing".

Then the poem sounds too much like talk.

The space of traditional metrics & rhyme was a kind of template for spatial (musical) control.

We got bored with it.

But complexity & resistance add interest.

I can no longer read poems that only sound like somebody "talking clever" at me.

But there are as many difficulties & pitfalls with "musicality". Falling in love with the sound of your own fricatives. Close reading of the "e" vowels. Mantic yammer.

Ominous, portentous ponderosa. The three word line, dropped like a tong of bricks.


Is it possible to speak of the "music" of an image?

That's what stopped me in my tracks when I picked up a book of Mandelstam (in translation, no less - & not the Merwin versions). The verbal image carried across its music - in a language with a completely different alphabet & sound.

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