Let's Learn the Craft by Anthony Esolen

Illuminations

Let's Learn the Craft

by Anthony Esolen

One of my students tells me that the other day in his poetry-writing class, the instructor wrote on the blackboard columns of abstract nouns, concrete nouns, and verbs. The students were to pick an item from each column and then make up a metaphor, mixing and matching things. Call it playing Mr. Poetry Head.

That's something like what the last fifty years of authors of hymns have been doing. You take an idea you picked up in your night-school social theology class, match it with six or seven piety-words taken at random, and paste it onto a Jesus-moment or a . . .