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March 05, 2012


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Although Olson started the idea of the connection of line and breath, we should regard the concept as mythology, not science. It's a "holistic" mythology, which comforts that part of the mind that wants such comfort. But breath lengths vary among different breathers and even an individual's breathing speeds vary at different times. When a sentence comes to a full stop within a line, of course we take a new breath before going to the next sentence. I sometimes write sentences that occupy more than one line and, when I read the several lines, use only one exhalation. There is no necessary connection between breathing and the line. Thanks for writing about the topic so engagingly and of course for the comments on Kizer.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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