I think this is a false dichotomy. Just as there is closet drama, there is
poetry that is for the eye. Like Williams or concrete poetry. There is also
performance poetry and--as with much of Eliot--dramatic poetry that is
wonderful spoken. Most poetry probably can be either or both, though one
is not going to be able to "hear" the images of concrete poems.
But the distinction I originally made was that Eliot's work does exist on the
page; it is not comparable to email (thank god) even if one calls this
ephemeral thing we are doing an oral medium. (And that seems to me
It may not seem that there is a reason to go back to that, but a statement
I made about Eliot elicited a claim that we therefore threw out all
performance. And of course that did not follow at all.
Date sent: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 20:20:26 -0500
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: CORRECTION Re: Grammar (you and I)
To: [log in to unmask]
See the all caps correction at the beginning of the second paragraph
Peter Montgomery wrote: > > >
> Dylan Thomas said, somewhere, that a poem on the page is > only half a
I think he was wrong. There's no doubt that hearing a poem read aloud
enhances -- that is enhances the later silent reading of it. Much of the
sound value of poetry can only be heard in the head as one reads silently.
Particularly cadence tends to get damped when the poem is read aloud
(though again, a good reading aloud can change the quality of one's later
Those lines from Pope I quoted are really NOT a special case. Most good
verse has several sounds or sound patterns, and to read aloud kills all
the patterns except the one chosen by the reader. In a silent reading One
can "hear" them all at once.