Girl with Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer
The editors of Poetry magazine have paired the following prose quotations from City Dog: Essays by W.S. Di Piero with this poem:
The imaginative dimension a poem creates in language is like space in a painting, a one-time event, a unique locale in which poetry (or image-making activity) can happen. Poetry’s space is composed and energized by formal dynamics. I’m not talking about rhyme and meter. Form is a poem’s internal economy, the pattern composed of musicality, rhythm, and sense, created by whatever means. If, as the maxim goes, poetry teaches me how to live, it does so in its mysterious effects of completed form. If it teaches, it does so by shooting its formal force straight into the bloodstream of my consciousness, and it lives its life in me more as instinct than as moral awareness. So it’s not what’s said in poems that has been exemplary to me, it’s poetry’s charged, whole, instantaneous pattern of form that is simultaneously a pattern of feeling.
I think it’s not so crucial to have a signature manner as it is to have a signature form feeling. Then just about any line or stanza or phrase will enact in miniature the weave of the entire poem, and it frees a poet into changing ways of writing. Such freedom can lead, as the mannerisms of plain-style discursiveness cannot, to the borderland where the unconscious squawks through the finer tones of consciousness.