For our January 15, 2013, Book Club for Poets discussion, we’re going to try something a little different. Instead of focusing on a book of poems by a single poet, we’ll be discussing a book about poetry: Ellen Bryant Voigt’s The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song. This is an extremely insightful book, one that gives us vocabulary for talking about free-verse poems in as much detail as we talk about traditional verse forms.
I think the book is very accessible, but if you feel a little intimidated about discussing syntax, you can concentrate on reading the poems that Voigt discusses in detail in The Art of Syntax:
Robert Frost, “Directive”
Stanley Kunitz, “King of the River”
D. H. Lawrence, “Song of a Man Who Has Come Through”
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29
Philip Larkin, “The Trees”
Philip Larkin, “Cut Grass”
T. S. Eliot, “Ash Wednesday” (opening 15 lines)
Elizabeth Bishop, “The Moose”
Donald Justice, “To the Hawks”
Donald Justice, “For the Suicides”
D. H. Lawrence, “Snake”
You can probably tell already that The Art of Syntax has influenced my decision process in selecting Book Club for Poets selections!