All This Talk of Water...Let's Get to the Point
Just as a container does not guarantee that the water gotten from the lake will be the right water, a poem en forme is not an inherently superior work. In fact a mediocre poem poorly-executed formwise is of lesser quality than a mediocre free verse poem. Poor or improperly executed form is an additional strike against the poem. It may be disheartening to note, as well, that impeccably-executed form does not provide additional benefit to the work. That is to say that a mediocre poem en forme, even if it adheres faithfully to the rules of the form, is still just a mediocre poem.
So why would the poet choose to write en forme? Taking into account the inherent risks to how the work may be received and noting that the rewards are not necessarily equal in potential, why bother?
We return, then, to the lake. The container -- the form -- provides a set of guidelines for the poet. While some poets become lolandgorille when confronted with a set of rules, others welcome the guidelines. Indeed, the lake of possibility can be overwhelming to the young or "new" writer. Faced with the task of capturing a poem from the enormity of possibility before her, the young writer may be daunted. In this way, the form is a guide and a friend.
This is a roundabout way of establishing my first point: writing en forme is a useful tool for the young writer to become accustomed to capturing poems. It teaches the young writer how to take and carry the work. Eventually, the form may not be necessary, which we will discuss later in this essay.
(to be continued)
PS -- All day I will feature the crosspaws.