Well, it does seem very different to many readers and scholars.  It is
clearly not a closed issue.

Date sent:              Mon, 28 Apr 2003 19:48:56 -0700
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Pachel rings a bell backwards
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Seems to me that if one is looking down on the Boar-Hound
and the Boar playing out their cycle as before, then one has
taken one's politics to a more metaphyscal level, whereby
the little games of now and then and here and there haven't
got much to do with anything that really matters.


Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 4:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Pachel rings a bell backwards

If you look in the NYTimes article today, you can see the passage that
says, "Mr. Gioia avoided the evening's main theme, poetry and politics.
At a news conference he was asked about the postponed White House event
and said he had no comment.  As for politics and poetry in general, he
said, when poetry is read "only as conceptual, ideological speech, it
diminishes its role as art."

It seems to me that is disingenuous because no serious writer, I think,
would endorse "only," and that makes the notion sufficiently trivial to
dismiss easily.

But I remember MacDiarmid saying "all great poets are political---Dante?"
And of course any list of poets who have been considered "great" gets one
into Dante and Milton and Dryden and Wordsworth and MacDiarmid and Eliot.
(I am noting men because I am referring to what was traditionally the
canon, except for MacDiarmid, who got omitted for many political and not
aesthetic reasons--Scottish nationalism, Marxism, writing in Braid Scots,
anti-English speech and writitings.)

So Gioia takes a line that focuses on the centrality of aesthetics and to
some extent sets that in opposition (as above) to politics.  But
historically it is very difficult to have such a separation.  And I am
reiterating--because it is important--that this tends to rest on the
"only."  One is not really forced to that dichotomy.

Eliot was political, with a lower case "p," but hardly "only" so.  Milton
was Political with an upper case "P" but hardly "only" so.  Ironically,
someone like Adrienne Rich gets seen as political because the politics are
feminist and lesbian.  But they are not any more "politics" than a
commitment to being royalist, catholic, and classical.  So trying to
imagine late Eliot without those very political commitments would pretty
much restrict one to prosody and style.  But it matters that Charles I
spent his last night with loyalists at Little Gidding.  And the politics
of the Treaty of Versailles matter in "Gerontion's" cunning corridors.

Date sent:              Mon, 28 Apr 2003 17:27:45 EDT
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
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From:                   Pietros Maneos <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Pachel rings a bell backwards
To:                     [log in to unmask]

In a message dated 4/28/2003 2:18:49 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

> a very specific kind of line about
> poetry, and that is going to affect his view

This is vague - specify what you think his 'line' is.