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.

1 comment:

  1. "It takes two to invent anything. The one makes up combinations; the other chooses, recognizes what he wishes and what is important to him in the mass of things which the
    former has imparted to him. What we call genius is much less the work of the first one than the readiness of the second one to grasp the value of what has been laid before him and to choose it. "
    --Paul Valery