Thursday, December 11, 2008

We need a new Milton

(thanks to Silliman for the link)

from the article:

"How did we get to the position, in our cultural history, where our poets are so bad? Milton supplies us with some of the answer in his great poem Lycidas, the lament for a lost Cambridge contemporary who will never fulfil his promise.

First, the lost poet is described as "a learned Friend". As Yeats and Eliot's poetry show, becoming a poet is a hard apprenticeship. Poets must steep themselves in the old stories, the old mythologies, the old culture.

Poets provide a society with its most articulate memories. Homer created for the Greeks, the collective memory of the Trojan war, just as the Beowulf poet kept alive the glimmering memories of the heroic North just as it was about to vanish."

Looks like I'm not the only crazy in the world.

4 comments:

upinVermont said...

Allen (World Class Poetry) just provided me with the address to your blog. Nice to see it. I'm going to be checking in, regularly.

//How did we get to the position, in our cultural history, where our poets are so bad?//

There are good poets out there. I'm one of them; and working hard at the art - some efforts more successful, some less but learning and improving. Don't despair.

upinVermont said...

Short of calling myself the next Milton, take a look at my "All Hallows' Eve", it has its flaws and is a first crack at blank verse, but you might be pleasantly surprised.

Meg said...

Oh...well...depends on what you mean by "we".

Muslim poets are actually quite good and getting better all the time.

G. M. Palmer said...

I mean "we" as in Western, especially English-speaking, and generally American poets (I hear Ireland is still full of poetry, though I don't really know about GB).