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One poetic technique that poets I admire often use to create a remarkable “stop-time” effect is what I’m calling, perhaps too obviously, the “braiding of time.” These poems braid — interweaving in close proximity — lyrical, narrative, reflective, recollective, and speculative threads in order to weave together a more complex and resilient lyric meditation, one that becomes a more powerful, variegated, and dramatic experience for the reader. We will look at poems by Philip Levine and Larry Levis, and discuss ways to bring this braiding to your own poems.
David St. John is the author of ten collections of poetry (including Study for the World’s Body, nominated for The National Book Award), most recently, The Auroras. He is also the co-editor of American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry. He teaches in the Ph. D Program in Literature and Creative Writing at The University of Southern California and lives in Venice Beach.