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"Rickard A. Parker" wrote:

> Marcia Karp wrote (about In Memoriam):
>
> > It's one poem, don't you think?
>
> Well, it was put together over a number of years, parts can stand alone
> and different feelings are expressed.  It can be compared to TWL which
> was once (briefly) considered a collection of poems but now is
> considered one poem.
>
> If I go much further than this I'll just show my ignorance.  So I won't,
> but I'm going to send in a seperate post under the title "Eliot,
> Tennyson and In Memoriam" that gives a professional opinion on this.
>

Dear Rick,
    Yes, Eliot read Tennyson and responded to him critically and in his
poems. There was no clean break between the Victorians and Eliot and Pound.

    As to a professional opinion on IM being a series of poems, I don't see
any support for it in my quick read of your excerpt from Miller.  True he
calls the sections poems, but an assertion is not an argument.  Eliot, on
the other hand, does explain his contention that it is one poem: unity and
and continuity.
    I don't understand your reasoning.  What does the length of time to
create it have to do with anything?  As for standing alone, Hamlet's
soliloquy can stand alone as a soliloquy, but not as a play.  IM expresses
an arc of grief with questions of religion, family, ... addressed.  Tennyson
would have considered it a cheat not to considered a variety of feelings.
Either you or Miller call _Maud_ a poem.  Why?  It too has passages that are
taken from the whole and printed separately.  It too expresses a variety of
feelings.

    I don't mean to beat this into the ground, but you've raised what to me
is a crucial question: what constitutes a poem?  Joćo asks about "The poetry
does not matter." from East Cocker II.  I think Eliot is raising the
question here, too.  Poetry that does not achieve form is not a poem.  The
task of the poet is not to write lines and stanzas of poetry but to make
poems.

Yours,
Marcia