Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
Dame Edith Sitwell describes the poems in her Façade as “abstract poems [italics hers]—that is, ... patterns in sound.” She apparently understands “abstract” as it is used in connection with, say, painting (many prefer “nonrepresentational” or “non-objective”) and/or in the sense in which music is said to be abstract—though all three arts obviously present concrete experiences of sound, shape, color, etc. Insofar as Dame Edith’s phrase suggests a poetry of pure sound without sense, it is an exaggeration, for her critics agree that the Façade poems exemplify the familiar elaboration of Pope: that the total sense of a poem is in part a function of its sound.—E. Sitwell, “On My Poetry,” Orpheus, 2 (1949); A Celebration for E. S., ed. J. Garcia Villa (1948); J. Lindsay, “Introductory Essay” to E. S., Façade and Other Poems (1950); Deutsch.