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An Ethic for Aesthetics: The Second Covenant (3 of 6)

[This is part 3 of a series by Walter Wangerin Jr. from his blog, Between Us.]

Second Covenant — The covenant with the conventions and the community of my chosen craft.


I can be briefer about this covenant, though it has required a lifelong attention.

The conventions of my craft are the forms and patterns of literature’s various genres. This covenant was established even before I knew it; I entered an apprenticeship of sorts when I, who read continually, became conscious of the words themselves, and loved what they could do, and started to question how they did it.

“Getting it right” in this case means making the words works as best they can. Making the poem a poem indeed—and besides that, a good one, too.

Sentences. Lines of verses, the sounds of those lines, the shape of many lines put together according to certain anticipations: sonnets, lyrics, hymns. Alliterations. Dialogue. Descriptions. Suspense. The episodic progress of a narrative. Stories. Novels. Each literary form has its definitions.


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