[log in to unmask] wrote:
> I do understand historical context as a precondition to historical understanding of poetry. Equally, it appears that poems must be put into historical context in order for the general public (including the bright young things at university) to grasp meaning. A friend yesterday noted that his high schooler's best introductory assignment was the selection of 10 or 20 poems upon one historical theme.
> However, I would suggest that it is perhaps somewhat too narrow to assert that poems such as Brooke's cannot still be written--in other places at this very moment. Neither history or poetry are governed by immutable laws.
Agreed in general. "Historical laws" (such as there are any, and such as
are not mere tautologies) in any case identify _tendencies_ not
necessary events. And what Gould et al. have pointed out in respect to
biological evolution, the importance of contingency, applies also to
So of course such poems _can_ get written -- doubtless many of them have
been. (I think abrowsing in Ann Landers / Dear Abby old columns might
turn up a selection of such sent in by readers.) But for 80 yeas now it
has been pretty difficult to get such poems attended to, & I imagine
most (would-be) "serious" poets would have a hard time writing them
without cringing at their own words (or fearing that they would look
Marianne Moore did write a poem during WW2 -- I forget its title or
first line, but it has the refrain "Fighting, Fighting, Fighting" if I
remember correctly. But (a) it was written by a civilian and (g) it was
still pretty far from [paraphrase from memory] "and still the voice of
the captain came, Play up Play up and play the game."
> Happy Thanksgiving!
> Eugene Schlanger