Part 8, cont - Fictive Certainties, Energy Defined


This also goes along with the fifth and sixth section of The Art of Reading Poetry , in which Bloom talks about individual voice. While there may be allusion or echoes of one style or poet or another, there is something individual in the poem, something that makes it distinct from all the poems of the past. I equate voice with energy because voice is an element of energy, as is freshness, surprise, assuredness and confidence. Throughout this semester, as I read through poetry of all types in an attempt to help define what my poetic aesthetic was, I have noticed that when a poet is confident about what the poem is to be, the poem is successful, regardless of the "type" of poetry it is (Language, lyric, narrative, Projective, etc.). Energy is the most difficult thing to break down and analyze in a poem, but it is the thing that makes it successful. A poem could have adequate substance or form or texture but without energy, it is unfulfilling. A poem can also use conventional substance, texture and form and with positive, fresh energy, be a successful poem.

This point is made by Duncan in “Ideas of the Meaning of Form” when he analyzes the work of Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell, saying "some personal necessity rather than social opportunity gives substance and meaning to their conventional verse. The rigorously counted syllables, the certainty of end rimes, the conformation of stanzas arise along lines not of self-imposed necessity but of a psychic need" (95). That quotes speaks to form and structure but he also has this to say about the texture of much of Moore's work, "Her metaphor is never a device but a meaningful disclosure" (95).

In his close examination of the work of Moore, he states "the tension, the reality of the verse, depends upon its being sufficiently haunted by the thought of its energy as a violence and the thought of its form as a repose for the poet to take her stance"(my emphasis) (97). When I re-read this passage while trying to put all the parts of this paper together, I realized that it was that section that had seeped in to my brain and finally allowed me this articulation of the "formula".