Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Great Regulars: Form. For Dan [Hoffman], form

is a shape thinking takes. Form is tone and argument.

In "Old Age," a superb sonnet, he uses both the enjambed line and the end-stopped line for emotional impact. Sense slops over the end and drops us off someplace unexpected and jarring. An aging writer realizes that his work, "Had of a sudden ceased, without his choosing,/To be novel." Which hurts, as one imagines the realization hurts. Yet "Old Age" also uses the end-stopped line to give weight and finality to a statement: "When it began he was already losing/Interest in the new work by the young."

from John Timpane: Per Contra: Three Candles for Dan's Cake


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