Form Essay

11 09 2007

It’s amazing how our society tries define everything some simplistically; form is was of these things. When we don’t know what something is we go to a dictionary, there it is layed out in black and white. But how do we know this is true? Form can be looked at so many different ways; according to the black and white it is; “the essential nature of a thing,” “orderly method of arrangement,” and “established method of expression or proceeding.”  When discussing form as a personal idea I relate it mostly to nature and science. Something’s form is what people see, although sometimes it can become deceiving. The deception with form is what makes it so mysterious and fascinating. One object can easily be seen as another just by the different views, focuses, angles and various perspectives people have. The shadows street lamps make on the sidewalk create forms that can be mistaken for animals, insects, or even a human. When in reality the shadow holds its own form. It thrives all around, especially in nature. Form is the way the river flows and creates smooth structures along the banks.

 A whole poem or sets of poems can be based off of one particular form. There is no limit to how much a writer can write about a form, especially one they are passionate about. It is amazing with poetry how someone’s emotions and deepest feelings can be expressed by discussing how the wind shapes the trees for example. I had never thought what form actually means to me or how it influences me, especially in a writing sense. It has always been seen as guidelines or strict rules a professor requires. When writing, free verse is what I am usually drawn to because I was never good at being able to write what I want but still keep the strict form. Because of this I tend to view form in a negative light and as restraining. Poetry in itself heavily involves form. A poet writes on the piece of paper which grabs hold of the ink trying to stay true to each line. The words on the paper flow and give substance to the poem. Once finished a writer looks at their work and realizes that the poem itself has its own form which has a whole new meaning. Poets and writers sometimes think extensively and worry more about how the poem will look on the page, than the content of the poem itself which shows how much of an impact form has in writing.

I read the chapter in Purpura before I began to truly thing about form. She discussed the game show and how it is made for people who want strict rules, and not people looking for forms, which is ironic since strict rules can define form as well. I interpreted this as some people believe there is only one true answer for things. Purpura uses the example of star-bright , and how it can’t be “bright as frost.” When words and concepts are looked at from different perspectives anything could make sense. Form is unable to be completely defined, yet we try to. We try to give a meaning or definition to everything but in actuality this word can mean something totally different to someone else. Form is defined as well as undefined which makes it so complex.