W.P. Snodgrass on What a Poem Needs

In an interview with New York Quarterly years ago, W. P. Snodgrass said, “I think that for a poem you’ve got to have one of three things: either a new idea, which is awfully unlikely, or a new set of details or a new style.” I like what he’s trying to say about the goals of good poetry. A poem can do many things, but offering a new perspective is certainly one of the most critical. In fact, I think I would add “offer a new way of looking at something” to that list, although it overlaps quite a bit with what he’s already said.

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