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One does not expect a poem to be equally sustained throughout; and in some of the most successful long poems there is a relation of the more tense to the more relaxed passages, which is itself part of the pattern of beauty.

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When it is one which the reader rejects as childish or feeble, it may, for a reader of well-developed mind, set up an almost complete check. That is too facile.

Does it Come to Your Mind, Arundhoti – by Navakanta Barooah (trans.)

If you attempt to edit Shelley, or Wordsworth or Goethe in this way, there is no one point at which you must stop rather than another, and what you get in the end by this process is something which is not Shelley, or Wordsworth or Goethe at all, but a mere unrelated heap of charming stanzas, the debris of poetry rather than the poetry itself. And by using, or abusing, this principle of isolation you are in danger of seeking from poetry some illusory pure enjoyment, of separating poetry from everything else in the world, and cheating yourself out of a great deal that poetry has to give to your development.

It is an advantage to mankind in general to live in a beautiful world; that no one can doubt. But for the poet is it so important? We mean all sorts of things, I know, by Beauty. But the essential advantage for a poet is not, to have a beautiful world with which to deal: it is to be able to see beneath both beauty and ugliness; to see the boredom, and the horror, and the glory.


From time to time, every hundred years or so, it is desirable that some critic shall appear to review the past of our literature, and set the poets and the poems in a new order. This task is not one of revolution but of readjustment. What we observe is partly the same scene, but in a different and more distant perspective; there are new and strange objects in the foreground, to be drawn accurately in proportion to the more familiar ones which now approach the horizon, where all but the most eminent become invisible to the naked eye. Both artist and audience are limited. There is for each time, for each artist, a kind of alloy required to make the metal workable into art; and each generation prefers its own alloy to any other.

Like many people the vanishing of whose religious faith has left behind only habits, he placed an exaggerated emphasis upon morals. Such people often confuse morals with their own good habits, the result of a sensible upbringing, prudence, and the absence of any very powerful temptation; but I do not speak of Arnold or of any particular person, for only God knows. Morals for the saint are only a preliminary matter; for the poet a secondary matter.

How Arnold finds morals in poetry is not clear. We can say that in poetry there is communication from writer to reader, but should not proceed from this to think of the poetry as being primarily the vehicle of communication. Communication may take place, but will explain nothing. It works through meanings, certainly, or not without meanings in the ordinary sense, and fuses the old and obliterated and the trite, the current, and the new and surprising, the most ancient and the most civilised mentality.

And what is the experience that the poet is so bursting to communicate? By the time it has settled down into a poem it may be so different from the original experience as to be hardly recognisable. I know, for instance, that some forms of ill-health, debility or anaemia, may if other circumstances are favourable produce an efflux of poetry in a way approaching the condition of automatic writing — though, in contrast to the claims sometimes made for the latter, the material has obviously been incubating within the poet, and cannot be suspected of being a present from a friendly or impertinent demon.

But it is not used : the poem has not been written.

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A single verse is not poetry unless it is a one-verse poem; and even the finest line draws its life from its context. The recreation of word and image which happens fitfully in the poetry of such a poet as Coleridge happens almost incessantly with Shakespeare. Why, for all of us, out of all that we have heard, seen, felt, in a lifetime, do certain images recur, charged with emotion, rather than others?

The song of one bird, the leap of one fish, at a particular place and time, the scent of one flower, an old woman on a German mountain path, six ruffians seen through an open window playing cards at night at a small French railway junction where there was a water-mill: such memories may have symbolic value, but of what we cannot tell, for they come to represent the depths of feeling into which we cannot peer.

The difficulty of poetry and modern poetry is supposed to be difficult may be due to one of several reasons.

"Poetry is the Voice at the Back of the Mind" - Lemn Sissay

First, there may be personal causes which make it impossible for a poet to express himself in any but an obscure way; while this may be regrettable, we should be glad, I think, that the man has been able to express himself at all. Or difficulty may be due just to novelty: we know the ridicule accorded in turn to Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, Tennyson and Browning — but must remark that Browning was the first to be called difficult; hostile critics of the earlier poets found them difficult, but called them silly.

The ordinary reader, when warned against the obscurity of a poem, is apt to be thrown into a state of consternation very unfavourable to poetic receptivity. There is such a thing as stage fright, but what such readers have is pit or gallery fright.

This is a normal situation of which I approve. I am not asserting that this situation is ideal; only that we must write our poetry as we can, and take it as we find it. In a play of Shakespeare you get several levels of significance. For the simplest auditors there is the plot, for the more thoughtful the character and conflict of character, for the more literary the words and phrasing, for the more musically sensitive the rhythm, and for auditors of greater sensitiveness and understanding a meaning which reveals itself gradually.

And I do not believe that the classification of audience is so clear-cut as this; but rather that the sensitiveness of every auditor is acted upon by all these elements at once, though in different degrees of consciousness. I have insisted rather on the variety of poetry, variety so great that all the kinds seem to have nothing in common except the rhythm of verse instead of the rhythm of prose: and that does not tell you much about all poetry.

Poetry is of course not to be defined by its uses. If it commemorates a public occasion, or celebrates a festival, or decorates a religious rite, or amuses a crowd, so much the better. It may effect revolutions in sensibility such as are periodically needed; may help to break up the conventional modes of perception and valuation which are perpetually forming, and make people see the world afresh, or some new part of it. It may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves, and an evasion of the visible and sensible world.

But to say all this is only to say what you know already, if you have felt poetry and thought about your feelings. And I fear that I have already, throughout these lectures, trespassed beyond the bounds which a little self-knowledge tells me are my proper frontier. I am content to leave my theorising about poetry at this point. The sad ghost of Coleridge beckons to me from the shadows. Explore Letters Works Media. News About T. Eliot Prize T. The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism.

Introduction 4 November The Age of Dryden 2 December Wordsworth and Coleridge 9 December Shelley and Keats 17 February After the lapse of half an hour, at the very utmost, it flags—fails—a revulsion ensues—and then the poem is, in effect, and in fact, no longer such. The fact is that their poems and haiku were selected for publication in this latest issue, because they reveal exciting heights and depths of their highly imaginative and observant mind.

The poems included in this latest issue reveal fresh originality and truly spontaneous imagination. In this mood successful composition generally begins, and in a mood similar to this it is carried on. I am filled with very deep sense of gratitude to the authors included in this edition.

There is no doubt that without the cooperation, kind help and generosity of these creative artists, it is not possible to publish the June edition of Taj Mahal Review. It is necessary to reveal that though we receive a large number of poems, short stories and haiku from across the globe, I always try to do my best in selecting and including only those compositions, artwork, short stories and poems that are full of insight and valuable contribution to the world of literature and arts. I trust that you will enjoy these poems, short stories and haiku.

This has certainly enhanced the prestige of the international journal TMR. It pervades the glorious universe in which the Almighty has placed him. It shines forth from the starry heavens, and from the deep blue vault of the summer sky. It lurks amid the green leaves of the groves, and gushes forth in the "wood notes wild" of their sweet songsters. It sparkles and plays in the flickering eddies of the stream.

There is no doubt that I look forward to receiving your cooperation in the future issues of Taj and thank you again.


Poetry from a Transient Mind

Thanks again for your tremendous support, help and cooperation. No doubt, poetry is supreme among all arts. Unlike painting or sculpture, poetry can deal with any and every topic in any and every fashion because in the final analysis what poetry really expresses is the mind's apprehension of itself to itself in itself.

We receive an increasingly large number of poems, short stories and haiku from across the country, and around the world. I have attempted to select and publish only valuable writings. The most important basis for publishing the international artists in the Taj Mahal Review is the quality of their work exploring the overall reality of human experience, powerful enough to shape our imagination.

This is of great help in enhancing the reputation and prestige of the journal in literary circles.