Ted Hughes: The Horses

I'd be interested in any thoughts on stanzas of the kind in the poem in this link http://www.oatridge.co.uk/poems/t/ted-hughes-horses.php

I am particularly struck by how it is in couplets. For the life of me I can't see how this enhances the reading (on the page or aloud) of the poem. Far from making it "flow", such an arrangement stilts it in my mind, making the narrative disjointed. I have often found it hard to appreciate why stanza begins or eds where it does, and in this case the two-line stanas don't representany sort of break from the lines preceding them. Can you honestly say the poem would be weaker if it were written in lengthier sanzas.

I suppose what I'm trying to address are two main points. a. What is the "point" of using a two-line format of this kind, and b. Is anything gained by having stateents/portions of the same observation hanging over into the next stanza?
Sun, 7 Apr 2019 07:09 pm
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"Can you honestly say the poem would be weaker if it were written in lengthier sanzas. "

Actually, yes I can, for me at least. Longer stanzas would speed up the reading, whereas the couplets slow it down. A smooth flow isn't always what the poem needs. Sometimes, something more staccato is required.

And yes I think something is gained - you have to read the poem again. And again.

All poems are in states of more or less 'unfinish'; and it's only ever 'finished' when a reader reads the poem and finishes it in their own mind. And even then, the next time you read it, it will finish differently...
Wed, 22 May 2019 01:33 pm
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Alan Pascoe

You're so right Steven, all work is unfinished. It perpetually changes with each reader.

As you know Auden said...' A poem never ends it is merely abandoned.'

Andrew Wyeth introduces beginnings in his paintings. He offers a moment in time and circumstance which becomes a separate experience, a separate journey for those who see his work. His theory was to have no theory at all.

Writers become tired of a particular structure. As words are placed next to each other they begin to discover themselves, perhaps before the writer understands their meaning, or why they are there.

Language is essentially ephemeral. As a writer you never quite know what you have. The essence is almost always elsewhere.
In some other place. So one writes another poem, or another story.

Milan Kundera believes that... 'Life is elsewhere.' It's there the journey begins. In that unnameable place.


Sat, 10 Aug 2019 10:17 am
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