Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The tension between...
...compressive and narrative statement represents the poet's chronic struggle.
Too much in either direction leads to a trying of the reader's patience. The reader is neither a receptacle for half-barked visions (requiring telepathy) nor for indulgent prolixity (requiring opium).
Dropping the reader into a series of stream-of-emotion vignettes or into an elongated "insightful" effusion makes the reader beg to be put out of his misery. Succinct yet flowing comprehensibility is the challenge. A poem requires connecting tissue but not gaseous bloating.
There's another tension: between the lyrical and the plainspoken. Too much of either makes a brain hurt.
There's still another tension: between the personal and the universal. The reader should not be strapped down into a chair and forced to experience the poet's interesting-to-himself-alone written pathology.