previous chapter
A Statement about the Poem "The Name"
next chapter

A Statement about the Poem "The Name"

My own centers of feeling have much to do with my family—literally my wife, and my three daughters. Feeling, or perhaps best to call it emotion , is for me the most significant content of a poem. I don't always or even often care what a poem is talking about , but I do care very markedly about the senses and the intensity of the emotion thus engendered. This poem, then, was and is a way of feeling about the fact of my daughter—a way of making that feeling evident for a time when, perhaps, it will be a pleasure and reassurance for her to know both how she came to be, and how then that fact was felt. It is equally for all my daughters.

Too, I like the way this poem moves, in its lines, in the way certain words pick up echoes of rhyme in others, sometimes very clearly, sometimes only as a shading. I like the syncopation of the rhythms—most evident if you will make a distinct pause (called a terminal juncture! ) at the end of each line, and will read the words relaxedly yet clearly, one by one. I feel poetry as a complex of sounds and rhythms, which move in a parallel to music. In fact, I believe it is just this complex that makes poetry be the very singular fact of words which it is.

Poems for Young Readers , National Council of Teachers of English, November 24–26, 1966.


492

previous chapter
A Statement about the Poem "The Name"
next chapter