Reading the greatest poems in English, we feel we’ve caught . . . something of the world’s stuff—a gown of sounds, the flow in the flower, a fluency in numbers, play of scopes and scales.
—Heather McHugh, “Naked Numbers”
The scale which shall represent . . . the experience of mankind is, I submit, to be found in the proper use of the f Progression and the due appreciation of its profound significance.
—Theodore Andrea Cook, The Curves of Life
One of my graduate writing students once told me that he avoided the sonnet because he refused to be locked up inside “a little box,” forgetting that poetry is meant to be spoken or read aloud and that no one can recite a box. We do not hear shape. We register aural symmetries,...