JiscMail Logo
Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Help for BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Archives


BRITISH-IRISH-POETS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS Home

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

Options

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password

Subject:

Ancient Moderns

From:

[log in to unmask] (Peter Riley)

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask] (Peter Riley)

Date:

Thu, 6 Aug 1998 17:21:10 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (69 lines)


I don't think it's to do with old age itself, I think it's to do with youth.

I seem to have set cats among pigeons with my dismissive list of GREAT
MODERNISTS and of course there's a mass of interesting writing in there,
especially among their earlier works.

But not fair to single out rejection of Stein as sexist, because she's not
just the only woman on that list she's also the furthest out-and-out
extremist of the lot, and is bound to attract a separate reaction.

But it occured to me that someone like W.S.Graham means more to me than
most of those big-persons, and he doesn't get called a GREAT MODERNIST, he
just gets called a good poet by those who've heard of him. Thwaite's book
on British poetry omitted him completely, as Ric pointed out, Davie
attacked him as a failure...  He's obvious not a GREAT  MODERNIST.

And his work got better and better as he got older, whereas the GMs' work
mostly got worse and worse. I'm sure there are reasons for that.

Which is that there's something about the focus on experiment, novelty,
artistic PROGRESS, which is disabling, which is unable to sustain the art
beyond youth. You become a Great Modernist but by the time you're 60 you're
babbling. Look at Graham's older work, or Rakosi's, or Bunting's, how in
control of it they are, what breadth and simplicity it can hold. Compare
that with what happened to MacDiarmid (a great modernist you know).

Might it be true to say that Bunting's poetry improved dramatically, in
Briggflats,  the  moment he abandoned (temporarily or not) American
progressive approaches?

To me this is to do with being interested in poetry as such, and not in
delivering important messages to the world or thinking you are transforming
universal consciousness by disabling language, or, I'm afraid, speaking out
against what you think is wrong in the public world. By "as such" I mean a
personal lyrical/ meditational medium which accepts the innate modesty of
the fact of the individual, more subject to than modulating terrestrial
forces, essentially a testimony rather than a critique. I find that
thinking it that way, the scope bcomes potentially greater and the whole
enterprise more hopeful.

Of those five GM big-writers, only one was really interested in poetry. Two
weren't poets at all.  Two of them thought they could use poetry for other
purposes as they got older.
.
Why should experimentalism be youth-bound? I don't quite know. It's not
modernity as such, I mean one doesn't get into the Larkin groove and start
preferring the Stockport Ramblers to Charlie Parker, or Winston Churchill
to Matisse....  It's to do with certain assumptions and stances towards the
world, I suppose, by which newness gets bound up with "importance" in the
close confines of the "Artistic" -- meaning you increasingly produce what
is only artistically important, (obsession-led)  and of less and less use
to the world.

There's a book about this called THE DEMON OF PROGRESS IN THE ARTS by one
W.Lewis (1954)

Well I ain't going to start defending Graham Greene against Joyce, or
Shostakovich against Stockhausen, though I know which I'll turn to when the
need arises.


/PR




%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

JiscMail Tools


RSS Feeds and Sharing


Advanced Options


Archives

October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997


JiscMail is a Jisc service.

View our service policies at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/policyandsecurity/ and Jisc's privacy policy at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/website/privacy-notice

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager