Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Poem's Skeleton

The most common way to think of form is as external, a container that holds content, like a glass holding water. However, it is more an internal structure, like a skeleton providing support and movement to the various other systems that hang from it. So, form is not simply an external shape but an internal frame, the support for all that is potential in the content and without which the content would remain inert. Leonard Bernstein suggested this when he said, “Form is not a mold for Jello, into which we pour notes and expect the result automatically to be a rondo, or a minuet, or a sonata. The real function of form is to take us on a varied and complicated half-hour journey of continuous symphonic progress.” Form’s function is to take us somewhere, to provide the means of progress. Without form, there is no movement.

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