What Sparks Poetry

Langauge as Form

In our series Language as Form, we asked poets to write about poetic language as patterned language—how words as sound, voice, sentence, and song become elements of form.

“Explore What Sparks Poetry” is made possible with funding from The Virginia Commission for the Arts.

“Home Ward (Seoul, Korea, 2012)” approximates the physical layout of a room. My memory of the real room, one of the last where my grandfather stayed, is marked by the concentration of patient beds in a rectangular space that, if empty, I would have considered a wide hallway.

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What will fascinate me most is the way the poem’s ending gestures toward my own potential complicity, which seems a much more nuanced and realistic engagement of power as a subject. In the end, the poem’s language and form are vehicles used in an attempt to absorb my own terror and the reader’s terror—though the story of the poem and the story of the country—is far from complete.

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