There is an interesting article in today's Times magazine, 'Arts and Ents'. It is an extract from Stephen Sondheim's book with the very long title - "Finishing the hat; the collected lyrics of Stephen Sondheim (1954-1981) with attendant comments, principles, heresies, grudges and whines and anecdotes" A high price too (£30)
He sets out the principles of lyric writing as laid down by Strunk and White in "The Elements of Style". Surely these are principles which relate to all poetry writing. Sondheim suggest they should be written in stone; I shall type them out and fix them in a clear place on my notice board and hope - or rather aim - to follow them.
These are the principles:
Content dictates form.
Less is more.
God is in the details.
and all three in the service of CLARITY
I sometimes wish I had reached an age when I could just write what passes for poetry and leave it at that - but I don't seem to have reached that age yet. I am still constantly trying to improve the 'poetry'I write. So henceforth I shall try hard to stick to these rules and see where it gets me!