The Art of Syntax
- “[An] illuminating contribution to Graywolf’s The Art of series. . . Voigt has long been masterful at breaking down—and thus building up—the music and thinking in lyrical expression. . . . It’s a pleasure to reencounter her vigorous eye and intellect as she contemplates syntax, the order of words in a sentence: not merely the grist for utilitarian, discursive communication, but rather the expressive organization of sound and music that engenders and intelligent love of poetry. . . . As with a good lyric, you’ll need to return to this compact volume and revisit its compelling pleasures.”—Ploughshares
With intelligence and precision, Ellen Bryant Voigt parses out the deft and alluring shape of poetic language in The Art of Syntax. Through brilliant readings of poems by Bishop, Frost, Kunitz, Lawrence, and others, Voigt examines the signature musical scoring writers deploy to orchestrate meaning. “This structure—this architecture—is the essential drama of the poem’s composition,” she argues. The Art of Syntax is an indispensable book on the writer’s craft by one of America’s best and most influential poets and teachers.
- "[Voigt] writes clearly and succicntly, even though her topic is. . . . complex and. . . . challenging to the average reader."—The Georgia Review
- "A worthwhile book on craft."—Cerise Press
- “[Voigt is] one of our most acute poetic thinkers.”—Edward Hirsch
- “Since Randall Jarrell, poets have bemoaned the lack of a true poet-critic, a sensibility at once commonsensical, laconic, and appropriately imaginative. Now we have Ellen Bryant Voigt, who offers Jarrell’s combination of wit and gravity—as well as his critical urgency in choosing subjects of scrutiny.”—Carol Muske-Dukes