Commonplace Book: “Essay on Poetics,” by A. R. Ammons

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.


iambic pentameter, especially unrhymed, is an infinitely various
ployable means: one must be ever in search of the rapier that
holds the world on guard: but the sparrow trap traps a sparrow:

(disquisition is sesquipedalian pedestrianism, tidying up
the loose bits, but altogether missing the import of the impetus):
a center’s absolute, if relative: but every point is spacetimematter’s

a center:

– From “Essay on Poetics” (1969) in The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons, by A. R. Ammons [Volume 1]

Edited by Robert M. West with an Introduction by Helen Vendler (W.W. Norton & Company, 2017)


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