3

I collected this excerpt from a SAT preparation book. While I was reading this sentence, I was confused as to how to understand the bolded portion.

According to poet John Berryman, there were so many ways to ruin a poem that it was quite amazing good ones ever got written

Does it mean that there were so many ways to ruin a poem though it was beautifully written? Could anyone help me to understand the whole sentence clearly?

2
  • John Berryman was very amazed that good poems exist, because mistakes are easy to make while writing a poem; i.e., it is difficult to write poetry well.
    – John B
    Sep 23, 2015 at 20:34
  • 2
    Just add (back) a 'that' after 'amazing' (the 'that' has been dropped)
    – Walter
    Sep 23, 2015 at 22:11

1 Answer 1

7

According to poet John Berryman, ...
(= John Berryman said or wrote or mentioned that...)

... there were so many ways to ruin a poem
(= It was so easy to ruin a poem -- because there were so many ways to ruin it)

... that it was quite amazing good ones ever got written.
(= The fact that good ones (good poems) ever got written was quite amazing)

In other words, in his opinion, it's so easy to ruin a poem. As a result, we should have had much fewer good poems than we do have. The fact that we have some good poems is quite amazing.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .