The Art of the Poetic Line

James Longenbach
Published in 2007
by Graywolf Press

“Poetry is the sound of language organized in lines. More than meter, more than rhyme, more than images or alliteration or figurative language, line is what distinguishes our experience of poetry as poetry,” writes James Longenbach in the preface to this installment of Graywolf’s Art of series. This thought-provoking writing guide breaks down the historical and technical aspects of the practice of lineation with an examination of metered, rhymed, syllabic, and free-verse poetry. Offering a range of examples—from the work of poets such as Frank Bidart, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and C. D. Wright—Longenbach makes the art of the poetic line approachable as he simultaneously challenges preconceived notions of how it is understood. Whether for the poet, the curious prose writer, or the poetry reader, this book will expand the lexicon and understanding of the musicality behind all writing.