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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Klinkenborg's poem that celebrates prose, August 20, 2012
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This review is from: Several Short Sentences About Writing (Hardcover)
How to foster a certain quality of mind, the writing mind, which notices, lies at the heart of Several Short Sentences About Writing. As the quotes below show, Klinkenborg's writing advice is presented like poetry. Technically it IS poetry, as he's controlling the length of his lines. This compulsively readable declarative poem runs for149 of the book's 204 pages, the balance being examples of prose, good and bad, and concise commentary. Here are some of his gnomic stanzas that struck me as interesting:

"If you notice something, it's because it's important.
But what you notice depends on what you allow yourself to notice,
And that depends on what you feel authorized, permitted to notice
In a world where we're trained to disregard our perceptions. . . .

"Is it possible to practice noticing?
I think so.
But I also think it requires a suspension of yearning
And a pause in the desire to be pouring something out of yourself.
Noticing is about letting yourself out into the world,
Rather than siphoning the world into you
In order to transmute it into words."

. . .

"The longer the sentence, the less it's able to imply,
And writing by implication should be one of your goals.
Implication is almost nonexistent in the prose that surrounds you . . .

"Try making prose with a poetic seriousness about its tools--
Rhythm, twists of language, the capacity to show the reader
What lies beyond expression,
But with the gaits of prose and a plainness in reserve
That poetry rarely possesses, an exalted plainness."

It's up to you to decide for yourself in the crucible of your practice whether Klinkenborg's opinions are true. He calls them conclusions, not assumptions. But he urges wariness about all dogma, even his. Contrary to so many process-based writing theorists, including the influential Peter Elbow, he says the creative and critical functions are not separate. They occur simultaneously. Since I am one who polishes as I go and seemingly cannot follow vomit-it-up advice, I was heartened.

This is a classic! Very inspiring.
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