Saturday, 3 November 2012

Young Writers' Month: Maurice Harmon

Trust the reader. Give him the chance to use his mind, to discover meaning, to use his imagination, to be alert to language and to rhythm, to see implications, to make connections, to hear the music. Otherwise reading poetry is no fun, there's no challenge, no stimulation.
 Maurice Harmon gives here his advice to new poets. He discusses punctuation, grammar and style, but also the need for writers not to emulate their contemporaries but to learn from them and move on.

I remember an editor friend of mine, after listening to a fellow young poet of some note read in public, turning to me and saying, 'He sounds a lot like Yeats.' That sounds, on the face of it, a compliment. But I knew immediately it wasn't, and Harmon's essay tells us why.

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