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The Poetry of Everyday LifeStorytelling and the Art of Awareness$
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Steve Zeitlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702358

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702358.001.0001

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Rock and Word

Rock and Word

Building a Stone Wall as a Lesson in Poetry

(p.244) 23 Rock and Word
The Poetry of Everyday Life

Steve Zeitlin

Cornell University Press

This chapter suggests that building a stone wall offers a lesson in poetry. The experience of writing a poem embodies a joyful feeling: the words take your shape as you wander through creek beds of syllables, with your own life rolling over them. Stones, like words, are everywhere; the trick to building a dry stone wall is to find stones that fit perfectly into one another and form a structure that will not collapse under its own weight. Stone walls, despite being made of one of the heaviest objects on the planet, all have a lightness and delicacy in the way the stones touch and balance. The best poems—made of the lightest things on the planet (words)—demonstrate a sturdiness, with the words coupled so perfectly that one cannot be removed without the whole structure crumbling. Writing a poem requires balancing sound, humor, feeling, and thought to support one another.

Keywords:   building, stone walls, poetry, words, stones, poems

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