One of the many paradoxes of human creativity is that it seems to benefit from constraints. Although we imagine the imagination as requiring total freedom, the reality of the creative process is that it’s often entangled with strict conventions and formal requirements. Pop songs have choruses and refrains; symphonies have four movements; plays have five acts; painters still rely on the tropes of portraiture.
Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is poetry. At first glance, the art seems to be defined by its liberation from ordinary language – poets don’t have to obey the rules of syntax and punctuation. And yet, most poetry still depends on literary forms with exacting requirements, such as haikus, sestets and sonnets. This writing method seems to make little sense, since it makes the creative act much more difficult. Instead of composing free verse, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints. Why?
» via Wired
Posted on Wednesday, 23 November 2011