A happy Thursday to you! As regular readers know, things are in more than a bit of upheaval at Robert Frost’s Banjo central, especially during the month of July. Despite this, I’m trying to keep the blog itself going mostly without interruption, & it does appear that this will remain true throughout the month.
However, since I’m a bit displaced these days, I’ve found it difficult either to arrange for writer interviews or to do book reviews for Writers Talk. So I’m resurrecting an old Robert Frost’s Banjo tradition: the Poem of the Week. Each Thursday at least into early August I’ll be posting a poem that’s in my head at that particular time.
This week, as soon as I thought about the return of Poem of the Week, the wonderful opening of Marianne Moore’s poem “Poetry” came to mind. What that says about where I’m at—well, I’ll leave that to speculation!
Ms Moore’s work has always held a strong appeal to me—her attention to detail, her wit, her intriguing system of lineation (much of it dictated by syllable count), her insistence on the particular all show her to be a poet of very high order, & to my mind she takes her place with the best of the U.S. modernists. You can read more about Marianne Moore here at the University of Illinois’ website.
In the meantime, please enjoy “Poetry.”
I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a
high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to
eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against "business documents and
school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
insolence and triviality and can present
for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them,"
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.