Thought for the Day
To cast syntax into lines is to provide choices, to place precision in the service of equivocation by making us consider the implications of reading the syntax in one way rather than another. So if line determines the way a sentence becomes meaningful to us in a poem, it also makes us aware of how artfully a sentence may resist itself, courting the opposite of what it says––or more typically, something just slightly different from what it says. Writing free verse is not, as Frost once quipped, like playing tennis with the net down; it is like playing tennis on a court in which the net is in motion at the same time that the ball is in motion. But to have said so is to have discovered the limitation of the metaphor: whenever we come to the end of the line, no matter how we've gotten there, the net is never standing still.
-James Longenbach, "The End of the Line," from The Resistance to Poetry (University of Chicago Press, (2004), pp. 24-25.