CR - I stressed the similarity of poetic and athletic "peak" moments
advisedly. More than one runner I know has described the feeling of winning
a race as if effortlessly, almost knowing in advance they would win, making
it sound as if there might be a muse for athletes as well as for artists!
Practicing so as to be ready when the muse visits seems to be advisable in
both fields of endeavor. Diana
From: cr mittal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Stream of Consciousness
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 10:08:25 -0800
You have a point there, Diana. And so had Carrol, the know-all grand
old teacher. O, I was only fending with him trying to, as you put it,
keep my hand in -- an unequal fight :))
Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
Eliot's practice of writing poetry just to keep his hand in, or what a
musician would call his or her "chops," seems to be not very unlike runners
practicing for the Boston marathon. Diana
Carrol Cox wrote: Asking "what went into (its)
preparation" treats writing as though it
were the Boston Marathon.
By "what went went into its preparation" I simply meant that the poet
must equip himself for the task. What I had in mind was the following
passage from Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent':
"I am alive to a usual objection to what is clearly part of my
programme for the métier of poetry. The objection is that the
doctrine requires a ridiculous amount of erudition (pedantry),
a claim which can be rejected by appeal to the lives of poets
in any pantheon. It will even be affirmed that much learning
deadens or perverts poetic sensibility. While, however, we
persist in believing that a poet ought to know as much as
will not encroach upon his necessary receptivity and necessary
laziness, it is not desirable to confine knowledge to whatever
can be put into a useful shape for examinations, drawing-rooms,
or the still more pretentious modes of publicity. Some can absorb
knowledge, the more tardy must sweat for it. Shakespeare
acquired more essential history from Plutarch than most men
could from the whole British Museum. What is to be insisted upon
is that the poet must develop or procure the consciousness of the
past and that he should continue to develop this consciousness
throughout his career."
Of course, one also assumes in the poet what constitutes an
essential part of his poetic equipment. To quote from Rukeyser's
'The Life of Poetry':
"The creation of a poem, or mathematical creation, involves
so much sense of arrival, so much selection, so much of the
desire that makes choice -- even though one or more of these
may operate in the unconscious or partly conscious work-periods
before the actual work is achieved -- that the questions raised are
very pertinent. . . . The poet chooses and selects and has that
sense of arrival as the poem ends; he is expressing what it feels
like to arrive at his meanings. If he has expressed that well, his
reader will arrive at his meanings. The degree of appropriateness
of expression depends on the preparing. By preparing I mean
allowing the reader to feel the interdependences, the relations,
within the poem.
These inter-dependences may be proved, if you will allow the
term, in one or more ways: the music by which the syllables
resolve may lead to a new theme, as in a verbal music, or to a
climax, a key-relationship which makes -- for the moment --
an equilibrium; the images may have established their own
progression in such a way that they serve to mark the poem’s
development; the tensions and attractions between the poem’s
meanings may mark its growth, as they must if the poem is to
achieve its form."
Of course, there's much more to it than just this :)
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