As a poet, I have often used syllable counts to provide a form or structure to my poems. My baseball card poems predictably use a 9-syllable line-count… “Madison Buffalo Jump, 1975″ uses a structure of an 11-count line. As I have said elsewhere here, the odd-numbered line-count attracts me because it is naturally anti-iambic, less likely to become sing-song.
Predictably wanting to push myself and the boundaries of what is possible, I have “experimented” with ever-higher syllable counts. The challenge, of course, is to create a line denser in consonants and vowels without increasing space. Space provides the silence in poetry necessary for sound. Without space you have prose.
Readers of A River Runs Through It will recognize the reference to the “four-count art” of casting with a fly-rod. Maclean’s title story, a reminiscence of his brother Paul, his Presbyterian minister father, and his Montana boyhood, remains the single best story about Montana ever written.
A final word on syllable counts: A careful reader will no doubt let me know that I quite often “stray” away from my “announced” structure… that I am quite “loose” in how I count. Let me say up front, “Guilty as charged.” Ever uncomfortable with rules and authority, I even rebel against my own authority… my own rules.
The poem that once
appeared in this space
is being re-drafted
It will be re-posted