Peter Montgomery wrote:
Was he looking at the
> universal dimensions of conscience and obsessive guilt,
> or just his own? Was his own simply a jumping off point
> to get at the core of the whole thing?
Probably, yes, of course. That's one of the reasons he has readers. But,
also of course, if someone has been a prick, that fact doesn't go away
just because he/she makes a good poem out of it. Rochester's superb
poem, "The Imperfect Enjoyment," does not excuse the life that produced
it, nor does the life that produced it weaken the poem.