Your encounter with a poem on the page (the black on the white) is like — or should be like — meeting a person, says Glyn Maxwell in the second chapter to On Poetry. And you should judge it just like you judge a person (Maxwell’s strong opinion is that if the poet doesn’t put something of themself onto the page, then what was the point, the point must be presence). But what follows next is somewhat surprising and gives you a whole new way of judging and weighing the poems you read and write.
Maxwell has four criteria (or “a word and four ways… of meeting, of meaning”, page 33): solar, lunar, musical and visual — you weren’t expecting that. Continue reading “So onto… “Black””