Frank Wilson and the beauty of brevity

Via Dave Lull, I read a beautiful poem, Still Point,  by Frank Wilson (Sir Galahad of the Blogosphere), published as part of the planetary month series in the Globe and Mail. The fourteen-line poem is preceded by a short appreciation by American poet laureate Daniel Hoffmann, who writes: "The verse moves with natural ease, unobtrusively giving emphasis to the significant words whose rhymes or internal rhymes make them attractive — and thus invite the reader's attention. This little poem in its moment portrays a memorable character, its meaning embodied in the manner of its saying."

Partick Kurp, at his blog Anecdotal Evidence, writes an appreciation of this poem. The character described in the poem comes “alive awhile” through the attentiveness he pays the simplest of events – a bird flies from a branch. It’s a scene painted on a Chinese screen. "The beautifullest harmonies", indeed.

As well as his blog, Books, Inq: the Epilogue, which is an essential source of all book-related news and insight, Frank writes a regular column for When Falls the Coliseum, an online journal of American culture. The title of his latest essay is "What blogging can teach a writer", in which he writes the following perceptive analysis:

My blog largely consists of links to things I have read or been alerted to that I think others might want to look at. Often, but not always, I offer up a take on what I’m linking to. I may also quote what I think of as a key point in the piece. I go to some trouble to keep these commentaries short and to the point. This may be because I am an aphorist manqué. Or because of other years spent writing headlines and captions. Whatever the reason I have become acutely aware — and this has coincided with my blogging — of when something I am reading seems longer than it need be. When I link to something, I try to be aware of what in particular about it grabbed my attention, and what I try to do in my commentary is address that specifically as briefly as possible.

This philosophy of brevity was very much that of my late mentor, Sir John Maddox, who firmly believed in the impact of a distilled message. Not many people can combine brevity with the beauty and insight of John or Frank, but it is a noble goal to which to aspire.


3 thoughts on “Frank Wilson and the beauty of brevity

  1. “The beauty of brevity” – oh, if I hadn´t told people I was busy, I could just have adhered to this principle and you would all have believed my short post were because I had finally seen the light 😀
    And the rest is silence.

  2. I don’t know enough to criticise poetry – but I know I love that one. It’s beautiful because it’s true, somehow.

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