This essay speaks to two New Critical taboos generally held by literary critics, whatever their training. The first concerns the poet's use of a preestablished referent that functions as a sentimental attachment that carries the poem along. This is usually considered a form of cheating, a loading of the dice. The second taboo concerns the poet's tossing “sweet nothings” into a poem, delicious turns of phrase that don't mean anything.

Again, critical readers generally take this to be a cheat. My article explores why readers of poetry should be more open to the sentimental attachment and the sweet nothing, given how central they are to poetry. This article is a short section from a book I'm working on that is composed of many short pieces on all manner of topics that concern contemporary poetry.

You do not currently have access to this content.