Thanks for the beautiful music! Happy New Year to all!
Sent from my iPod
On Dec 26, 2010, at 6:43 PM, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Westron wynde, when wylle thow blow
> The smalle rayne down can rayne?
> Cryst, yf my love were in my Armis
> And I yn my bed a gayne!
> The creator may have been anon, but I don't think this is a minor poet; I think it one of the most stunning and complex lyrics in the English language.
> I agree, however, that the ability to create a musical line and to find the way to say what is exact is part of all real poetry (I distinguish both between good and bad poetry and real and pseudo-poetry). And I agree that prose may be equally fine (think Woolf or Joyce or Faulkner), but by "invent" I would mean something more unusual--what Shakespeare does or Donne or Keats or Dickinson or Yeats or Moore or, yes, Eliot. But it is hardly unique to Eliot--only his own way of doing it. And many others get it sometimes.
> What "it" is is harder to say. In Shakespeare it often is really inventing words or using them in quite new and distinct ways.
> >>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 12/26/10 5:41 PM >>>
> Nancy writes: "Where this is apt (Eliot invents ways of saying what he
> needs), it is true of all great poets. . ."
> Actually, also of a large number of minor poets. Bishop King is hardly a
> "great poet," but no great poet has written anything more apt than (from
> But hark, my pulse, like a soft drum,
> Beats my approach, tells thee I come;
> And How'er long the marches be,
> I shall at last lie down with thee.
> Or (from memory: have I got the line breaks correct?):
> Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
> Christ, that my love werein my arms
> And I in my bed again.
> Or even very minor poets indeed. Dorothy Parker:
> I'd rather flunk my Wasserman test
> Than read a poem by Eddie Guest.
> Or a great poet writing a mere epitaph:
> Nature, and nature's God, lay hid in night,
> God said, let Newton be, and all was light.
> Or another great poet making a casual observation on a student late to
> Striding along as if o'er tasked by Time.
> Or another a minor poet indeed:
> Where the brown fields their fallow Sabbath keep.
> Eliot could achieve great precision, but less frequently (if bulk makes a
> difference) than either Marianne Moore or Pound.
> But these comparisons of poets as though poetry were the playoffs for the
> state basketball tournament are silly. And poems are not enhanced by piling
> up complimentary phrases for the man or woman who wrote them.
> And the prosaic (i.e., actual prose) is not to be sneered at: "...men have
> died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.'
> That he or she finds ways to express what is needed is not a high compliment
> to a writer but merely states the minimum expected!