April 20, 2014

Lines in Poetry: Linkage Theory, Enjambment, and Associative Leaps

Paul Hurt from the UK focuses attention on the myriad ways to create a line of poetry:
         Applying Linkage Theory to poetry: 

The site is centred upon what I call 'Linkage Theory,' although I regard this theory as having a great number of practical applications. Innovations, I also believe, are far more likely to be made if a person thinks in terms of linkages and contrasts. In this site, I give some of the innovations I've made - but not all of them. 

I first began to formulate Linkage Theory as a result of intensive study of poetic forms. Some of my work on linkage and contrast in poetry and literary theory appears in this site, and is grouped on the left side of the Site Map. At this stage, I explored linkages between poetry and art and design, for example, by fragmentation of the poem, but later, I made a more intensive study of linkage and contrast in the visual arts, including work on the Set. Much of this work appears in the site too, and can be found on the right side of the Site Map. 

Chris Pulman, in 'The Education of a Graphic Designer,' writes 'If you ask why something works and you push back far enough, eventually everything seems to be based on contrast: the ability to distinguish one thing from another. Composition, sequencing, even legibility all rely on devices that affect the contrast between things.' (Quoted in the Web Style Guide). I later developed my ideas concerning contrast (and linkage) far beyond these origins. 

The next stage involved a great broadening of scope: the concrete linkages and contrasts of modern life, as well as technical extensions to linkage theory.
This is an interesting focus.  I've learned to "create tension between the lines," an adage from a writing teacher Wayne Moen.  The concept of linkage perhaps is related to the idea of "enjambment," the continuation of a sentence over a line break. The slight pause that a reader might make at the line break can introduce some ambiguity and perhaps make more meaning. Enjambment offers the poet an interesting rhythmic tool.  Hurt suggests that poetic lines should provide contrast in the way that they are sequenced as well as link both past and present.  Linkages are thus associations and evocative elements.  Hurt says:
I make the point that the artist should 'transform form.' I stress the exhilarating variety of forms available to the poet and the need for a wide variety of forms - free verse as well as strict forms of many different kinds, forms from the past which are still useful and completely new forms. I emphasize form here, but not at the expense of content.  
He offers a scientific sort of approach to literary arts, and he underlines the fact that form is as important as content, and it offers as many meanings.

Hurt, Paul.  Linkage Theory. 20 April 2014. Web. http://www.linkagenet.com/glossarylit.htm

No comments:

Post a Comment