Part 6, cont - Poetry in Algebraic Form, John Crowe Ransom


Voigt examines the "exquisite dialectic" of John Crowe Ransom. Her definition of the elements of poetry builds off of his ideas but "adjusts" them. Ransom is quoted in regards to what differentiates a poem from prose by "'the kind of structure exemplified by a poem which, (a) is not as tight and precise on its logical side as a scientific...prose structure is and (b) imports and carries along a great deal of irrelevant or foreign matter which is clearly not structural...the poem is a loose logical structure with a good deal of local texture' ("Wanted: An Ontological Critic" 1941)" (117).

Some descriptions of structure and texture from Ransom offered by Voigt include "structure proper" as "'the prose of the poem'" and texture as "'any real content that may be come upon, provided it is so free, unrestricted, and extended that it cannot properly get into the structure' ...("Wanted")" (117). Also texture as the "'incessant diversion from the argument which is basic in the poetic medium itself'...("An Address to Kenneth Burke" 1942). Structure provides the "'scientific argument to hold [the poem] fairly together'...("Positive," 1943).

After reading this, I made a pictograph of a tree next to a pictured of a tree and likened the tree to the argument and the painting, with its paint and frame and canvas being the "incessant diversion from the argument". The medium, the texture, is the ontological advantage.
However, Ransom only has texture and structure "into which to sort the various aspects of a poem" (118). To account for the missing third element -- the form -- he breaks structure into to parts: one semantic, the other phonetic and compares them to melody (semantic) and harmony (phonetic) in music (119).