Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poetry is civilization

So I don't like prose poetry.

Not that a "prose poem" can't be an example of good writing--take today's Nepotist post--but it's not poetry.

Poetry is about restraint.

By definition it's artificial--all of our great accomplishments are. That's what civilization is, imposing artificial (and beneficial) restrictions on nature.

Prose, on the other hand, attempts to capture "natural" language--it's an uncivilizing force. This doesn't mean prose can't be beautiful. What it does mean is that when prose can be confused for poetry there's something amiss.

As the good Don says: civilization always consists in dressing oneself, not undressing.

Prose is language without clothes.

Poetry is language dressed to the nines.


Kirby Olson said...

Glenn Beck was on this weekend selling a book called The Road to Serfdom. He holds up the book and says, "This is the most important book in American history. People have died to read this book. You have to read it..."

I looked in this morning and it was #1. This means it has sold thousands of copies today. Beck is the Oprah of political theory.

I agree. If enough Americans read this book, socialism would stop in its tracks.

Patrick said...

A.) Kirby, Glenn Beck is a moron.

B.) G.M. You're analogy (prose = language without clothes) makes prose sound appealingly pornographic. How's your youngest?

J said...

--Patrick, Olson's not merely a moron, but an untalented, dangerous moron. What sort of lit-person would quote Glenn Beck? Someone who knows squat about lit.

--people who want authentic poetry...should not forget its roots--which lie not in protestant homilies or even Miltonic bombast...but the Dantean. As EPound knew

G. M. Palmer said...

J, please refrain from ad homs.

Pound knew our roots were not dantean but biblical and mythological. He liked cavalcante more anyway.

J said...

Dante's biblical, AND ...mythological. What could be more biblical than Caiaphas buried in ice? Not saying that's the summum bonum of writing, but in a sense fundamental, however odd and supernatural Dante might seem now (and following from like Aristotle and Plato as much as the Goot Book and the madness of.... Ibraham). And does Pound really like Cavalcanti? I thought it was a machiavellian sort of thing

EP also admired Villon, hardly a model of piety , or a macho-man such as Caval. And what's more poetic than like corpses of criminals strung up on the roads during plague-time? Bellizima

J said...

Aqui es la Verdad, Senor SL: Ingles es la lengua del...Diablo, de la Gran Puta de Zion-Babilon, la basura del Mundo. Y Senor Pound sabia que, tambien. Pero, que no signifo que vayamos a la misa. Googleando! ay ay