I do agree that poetry cannot be limited by
‘theories’; I may only like to add that poetry cannot
be ‘interpreted’ by theories either.
My reply was to that question if poetry was an aid to
have an outlook towards life. It sounded like a
management concept to me and so I made that reply. I
believe that poetry has its own context, its own
perspective and we only put too much of ourselves
distorting what it essentially is, when we look at it
from so many related details, that have a kind of
historic interest alone. Poetry has been read as a
cultural activity and that explains it for me.
--- Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear Vishvesh,
> I think one kind of poetry may be a sublimation of
> oneself. But poetry is
> far bigger and grander than any one definition.
> Eliot's own "impersonal"
> theory of poetry does not account for what he wrote
> himself, and I think of
> contemporary poets whose personal experience is
> central in far more
> complex and interesting ways than "confessional" or
> simply personal. I
> think poetry cannot be limited by theories.
> Date sent: Tue, 13 May 2003 05:44:08
> Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion
> forum." <[log in to unmask]>
> From: Vishvesh Obla
> <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: An amateur Eliot
> enthusiast's wild musing
> To: [log in to unmask]
> I appreciate your sincere wish to understand
> Literature. You have raised a couple of issues that
> interest me since they seem to me to reflect a
> pattern of one's understanding of Literature.
> “What is poetry, if not something for aiding us in
> forming our own sort of outlook -- something to help
> us make sense of an essentially senseless
> Well, poetry could be anything for anyone, but I
> it primarily is a cultural expression. It fulfils
> purpose only in relation to the culture that made it
> possible. Eliot relates this ‘culture’ aspect to
> he calls as the European ‘tradition’ from which the
> English literary tradition is derived. To read
> is to live culturally. One doesn’t read poetry to
> ‘make sense of an essentially senseless environment’
> nor is one a poet when he offers aids to make
> of a social environment. When one does that, what
> offered is an ‘idea’, to quote a Lawrentian term, an
> idea that nevertheless may have truth behind it, but
> truth that has only a ‘personal’ force and not the
> essential poetic force. If Virginia Woolf has to be
> related to her feministic ideas for a better
> understanding, then I would seriously doubt her
> as a great novelist. Tolstoy is so much an artist
> ‘Anna Karenina’ than his ‘Resurrection’, for the
> creative force behind the former is not governed by
> any ‘ideas’, while in the latter they are the
> force and hence stand in his way of his wholesome
> ‘artistic’ conception of life. Please don’t mistake
> me as an advocate of the stupid ‘art for art’s sake’
> slogan. I think Life as related by art has a much
> more permanent value than when it is related to an
> One is a poet when one is able to sublimate one’s
> personal experiences into what poetry essentially
> stands for. In such a case, the associated details
> become important only when one wants to magnify (or
> reduce) a poem.
> --- Dave Martin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Vishvesh:
> > I appreciate the sentiment.
> > All the same, I like to "know my sources". I have
> > never been one to
> > fully subscribe to or fully reject the
> > post-modernist arguments about
> > author's intent, that is, its essential
> > Maybe I am reading
> > into your note (ha!) but I hear a little of this
> > spirit in your reply.
> > Whether or not Eliot was gay does not impact my
> > opinion of him as a
> > great poet. It could, however, help to inform my
> > understanding of his
> > work and his general outlook on life. What is
> > poetry, if not something
> > for aiding us in forming our own sort of outlook
> > something to help us
> > make sense of an essentially senseless
> > I may be mistaken,
> > but it was my understanding that this was the
> > pursuit of the
> > so-called 'Modernists', amongst which Eliot is
> > generally considered a
> > great standard bearer... I think, for example,
> > are a lot of folks
> > out there that would think it silly for one to
> > ignore the feminist/gay
> > slant to Woolf's writing, even if you were to
> > that she never wrote
> > such themes into her work 'with intent'.
> > Group: please advise!
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Vishvesh Obla
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> > Sent: Monday, May 12, 2003 7:33 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: An amateur Eliot enthusiast's wild
> > musing
> > "I read in a New Yorker article (by Louis Menand)
> > last
> > fall that a group of scholars -- on somewhat thin
> > evidence -- believe that Eliot was gay and had a
> > lover
> > while in Paris: Jean Verdenal..."
> > ------------
> > 'Eliot was gay; shakespheare was gay; Henry James
> > was
> > impotent; Lawrence suffered from Oedipus complex'
> > when I read academic discussions of great writers,
> > feel totally at a loss when someone drags in a
> > personal issue as the above even when they could
> > real. I remember Eliot himself quoting somewhere
> > some earlier critics of Shakepheare that they were
> > much closer to his dramatic art than much of the
> > later
> > critics since they could focus at the essential
> > spirit
> > of his works without getting entangled in the
> > 'academism' which seems to be the malady of the
> > modern
> > mind.
> > I would appreciate if anyone here attempts to look
> > at
> > a poem for what it is and not for the innumerable
> > details which, I feel, make a poem anything but a
> > poem.
> > Vishvesh
> > "Trust the tale, not the artist..."
> > -D.H.Lawrence
> > --- "David B. Martin 00"
> > <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > RE: Prufrock...
> > >
> > > Why is the fog/smoke yellow? Mustard gas? I read
> > in
> > > a New Yorker article (by Louis Menand) last fall
> > > that a group of scholars -- on somewhat thin
> > > evidence -- believe that Eliot was gay and had a
> > > lover while in Paris: Jean Verdenal. The
> > > collection was apparently dedicated to Verdenal
> > > 1917, after his death at Gallipoli. According to
> > > these scholars, Eliot thought he had died of
> > > drowning. Other scholars have read Verdenal into
> > the
> > > Phoeban sailor of _The Waste Land_. But it
> > > to me that the publish date, 1922, of The Waste
> > Land
> > > would have been far too late to nurse a wounded
=== message truncated ===
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