Imago lacus

The picture above was taken by a dear friend, the American poet Debra Kang Dean (please do not use it without permission). I met Debra three years before, when I went to Walden to work with his late husband Brad, a great Thoreau scholar. Once we spent hours tracking this quotation: "Some men go fishing all their lives without ever realizing it's not fish they are after." We concluded that Thoreau never wrote it, but si non è vero...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Word About Transitions

Moreover is not a good way to start a poem
though many begin somewhere in the middle.

Secondly does not belong
at the opening of your second stanza.

Furthermore is to be avoided
no matter how long the poem.

Aforementioned is rarely found
in poems at all, and for good reason.

Most steer clear of notwithstanding,
and the same goes for

nevertheless, however,
as a consequence, in any event
,

subsequently,
and as we have seen in the previous chapters.

The appearance of finally
in your final stanza will be of no help.

All of which suggests (another no-no)
that poems don't need to tell us where we are

or what is soon to come.
For example, the white bowl of lemons

on a table by a window
can go anywhere all by itself

and, in conclusion, so can
seven elephants standing in the rain.

Billy Collins 
Tin House, Volume 13, Number 1 (2011)

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete