Expanding on Voltaire's Grammar

The Adjective is enemy of the Noun,
Which manages precision on its own.
The English language wears a royal crown
Only when Captain Verb ascends the throne.
To be or not To be? The answer's clear.
Is/are/was/were and would have been are very
Inimical to melody. The ear
That craves Mozart gets too much Salieri.
A French provincial woman made Flaubert
Distraught for weeks: He searched for that bon mot
A Verb!  personifying her affair.
So if you contemplate striking a blow
For elegance in style, do not disturb
The Adjective. It's dead. Long live the Verb.

by J. Patrick Lewis

J. Patrick Lewis's poems have recently appeared or will soon be published in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, New Letters, the new renaissance, Kansas Quarterly, Santa Barbara Review, Fine Madness, and many others. He has also published over 50 children's picture/poetry books to date with Knopf, Atheneum, Penguin Putnam, Harcourt, Little, Brown, Creative Editions, National Geographic and others.

A Formal Vase

Some poets say a finished poem is made
Within a vase of form. The syllables
Can stand erect because the poem has stayed
Strong to hold poetry. Each time it spills

A concept or a word, the poet fills
The vase again. But should this run away
Leaving each stanza dry and sere, it kills
Those things the poet might have meant to say.

An ill-made form can't make the water stay.
When words lie gasping, sucking for some life,
No poetry can ever bloom that way.
Far better then to harvest with a knife;
Bring order to the brambled chaos there—
Slim stalks of possibility laid bare.

by Sally Cook

Sally Cook lives a reclusive country life with her husband, political cartoonist Bob Fisk, and cats. She is both painter and poet. She has been the recipient of several scholarships and awards. Cook keeps a sharp eye out for the psychological portrait in both disciplines. An e-book of her poetry can be seen at the web site of The New Formalist and her review of Joseph S. Salemiís book Masquerade appears in the current issue of The University Bookman.

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