Poetry

Ars Poetica

Marie Borroff

He who would frame the corded lyre must take
Not of his bone, but some more steadfast thing;
There is no bended rib of body’s make
To stretch such string.

Some more than mortal substance may alone
Hold taut and true beneath the smiting hand
That iron string, whose stress his hollow bone
Could not withstand.

Marie Borroff was a scholar, poet, translator, and a Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.
Originally published:
April 1, 1948

Featured

Essays

Communalism in the Veld

Rethinking property in South Africa
Glen Retief

Fiction

The Front House

Cord Jefferson

Books

The Sublime Modes of Sheila Heti

The novelist as philosopher
Noreen Khawaja

You Might Also Like

Essays

Creativity, Poetic Language, and the Computer

What's distinctly human about writing a poem?
Marie Borroff

Poetry

Next Moment

Marie Borroff

Poetry

Noah’s Flood

The Gawain Poet,
Marie Borroff

Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Subscribe to The Yale Review and receive four beautiful print issues per year.
Subscribe