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The issue here is, as you note, what one means by "symbolic." Hughes seems
to think it is the same as "symbolist" in the notion of being a gateway to
a spiritual world outside physical reality. That would seem to cut out a
great deal of poetry--like imagism, or WCW or Levertov or any poet who saw
or sees poems as ways to engage with the material world directly.

Otherwise, as you say, it is just a tautology.
Nancy

On Sun, Feb 5, 2017 at 1:07 PM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> "Because poetry is fundamentally symbolic in its form, it possesses the
> capacity to suggest the incommensurable and unknowable of the transcendence
> and thereby reawaken the spiritual experiences that gave rise to the
> symbols
> and stories of poetry in the first place."
>
> This is an odd proposition. Classified ads are fundamentally symbolic. Porn
> videos on YouTube  are fundamentally symbolic. Coffee-shop chatter is
> fundamentally symbolic. Nothing in particular follows from the tautology
> that poetry is symbolic.
>
> The portentousness of the mere word, "symbol," is itself a bit odd.
>
> And what is the difference between "poetry is symbolic" and "poetry is
> fundamentally symbolic in its form"?
>
> Carrol
>