At 07:12 PM 2/18/2004 -0600, Carrol Cox wrote:
>"Rickard A. Parker" wrote:
> > Let's be fair to Spender too. He wrote that Eliot was not helpful in
> > explaining his poetry. He didn't indicate whether he wanted Eliot to
> > be helpful or not.
>Off hand, I can't think of _any_ major writer, painter, composer who was
>ever very helpful in explaining his/her work. Why should a poet be
>helpful? One might even remark, how _could_ a poet be helpful?
Yes, that's more along the lines I'm thinking. Aside from the "help" of
the actual poem, what is the assumption at work that a poet could be
helpful? I'm inclined to think that the lesser the poetry, the more
"helpful" the poet might be. The more focused the writer (your "major"
writers), the less given to attempting to be of two minds (a topic Eliot
tackles in his essays). Remember James' writer's remark to the young critic
in The Fig. In The Carpet (from memory): "Ah, if only I, pen in hand, were
one of YOU chaps." But he wasn't, and it is peculiar that anyone should
expect a writer to be the interpreter of his own work.
Anyhow, Rickard, I wasn't being unfair to Spender, but to you.