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Poem: “Four-Count Art” by Mark Hinton

28 July 2011

Beaverhead Rock (copyright © m.a.h. hinton)

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
and re-typed.

It will be re-posted
someday soon
at MontanaWriter.com.

Stay tuned!



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