Dear Brit poets,
With CCCP approaching I shall have to retire from this fascinating
correspondence for a while,. before I go I'd like just to mention----
1) There's been no consented definition of poetry in the West since about
1910, and all attempts at it are mere descriptions. This is why BritPoets
can never agree with each other about anything -- they're all talking about
different things. (It's also why it doesn't matter and people shouldn't get
threatened by differences). Keston's description is the most interesting
I've seen for decades and is worth looking at very closely, but I doubt
that it amounts to a necessity.
2) I thought I might copy out all my favourite poems by John Masefield and
post them one a day during the whole of May. And a version of Plotinus in
North Donegal phonetics 2000K long.
3) There's a peculiar mode of reply used from time to time which I find
very irritating. I've never come Across it before, perhaps it's typical of
e-mail groups. You pick out fragments and phrases from someone's letter
and sort-of point fingers at them, saying, "Eh, what's this here then?
That's a thing isn't it? What do we make of that then, eh? " without really
challenging them and without stating own belief. I wish people would stop
4) concerning Keston's---
>>But Ernest this is so decrepid, nothing is like this any more despite
whichever wish that it might be, haven't you noticed the 20th century?
Can you really say that there ARE even criteria now, in the sense that
there were consensual acclamations circa 1740, what can that mean here,
have you read recent poetry? Eternal truth is a pathetic fallacy even in
the character of language itself, and music -- don't you see how music has
changed? Would Boulez have been 'musical' to Haydn? But these are
truisms. Nietzsche howled the lot of this into a priori pointlessness
Really, Keston, how could you! This is pure intellectual coercion. Are we
victims of time or masters of it? unless we cave into this kind of
centralist policemanship, this Maoist whiplash . Anyone is completely free
of this who wants to be, beauty and truth tucked under his/her arm,
striding over the outdated hills as out-of-touch as out-of-threat it's an
absolute right. These things are attached by those who need them and cast
back into the cauldron, they have to be completely re-thought every second
there's nothing to lean on. Would Billie Pigg have been "musical" to
Haydn?---YES. This is your Achilles heel, K. We love you come back home.