The Poetics of Space?
When asked about why her poems look the way they do ("The Violinist at the Window, 1918," from the March 2008 question-and-answer issue of Poetry in particular, which we had to print on a fold-out page), Jorie Graham remarked that she is "working with lines that acquire momentum as they move down the page, yet need to carry that momentum across shifting distances of breath and attention."
Over on his WhimsyLand blog, Jeffrey Bahr's response is that he doesn't "understand the value of radically indented lines, but then they never slow me down as they are supposed to.” I like the phrase he uses to describe the poem: "geographically dispersed."
I figured I'd open up the discussion here... at the magazine, we're working on a vispo feature, and what poems look like is, well, a real question.
(I was about to include the text of W.S. Merwin's "To the Blank Spaces," to kick things off, but... I can't format the thing correctly in this space (proving the point, perhaps); the poem addresses those "white lakes on the maps..." A link to the poem, which originally appeared in Poetry back in 2002, will have to suffice.)
How do spaces mean in a poem?
Don Share became the editor of Poetry in 2013. His books of poetry are Wishbone (2012), Squandermania (2007), and Union (2013, 2002). He is the co-editor of The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (2012), and editor of Bunting's Persia (2012) and a critical edition of Basil Bunting's poems (2016). He...