We assume that a writer has something to say—does he or she? We assume that there is a content, message, or meaning to a poem, to poetry, and to poetic endeavor—what is meaning? what is poetic endeavor? what is a poem? But while engaging the question of meaning and intention in relation to the art of poetry, we will assume that there is motivation on the part of the individual poet to write, and hence we are going to focus on writing as such, as an art.
We begin with the premise that poetry is first of all an art which uses language as its medium—that is, that poetry is not a thing for ornamenting thoughts, feelings, or sentiment. Hence we’ll be looking into the laws of the art and the techniques of poetry. The emphasis of this lecture, then, is going to be on craft, but not on the traditional sense—this will not be about verse forms (prosody) and poetic language, poetic “images,” or the poetic turn of phrase, but rather about ideas of poetic form and, as Charles Olson wrote,
“FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF CONTENT.”