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176 pages, Paperback
First published November 15, 2011
poems never opened themselves to me, and that was because I had no "right" to them: they were not for me… they always said: Who do you think you are, coming in here? That was what Osip Mandelstam's poems said, that was what Ezra Pound's poems said, that was what Gottfried Benn's poems said, that was what Johannes Bobrowski's poems said. You had to earn the right to read them. How? It was simple, you opened a book, read, and if the poems opened themselves up to you, you had the right, if not, you didn't.I remembered this passage when I picked up Glyn Maxwell's little book a couple days ago. I think he'd probably agree with this severe sentiment.
The fissure in writing poetry, the chasm between what I believe absolutely and doubt profoundly, is not between the "metrical" (say Frost) and the "musical" (say Pound) – which is a crude reduction of the work of both… the fissure is between having a governing aesthetic like either – or having no governing aesthetic at all, which leaves you with nothing but your next thought, or your latest feeling. That's an impulse which waited ninety years to find its true literary form. It's called a blog.which echoes TS Eliot's dictum "the division between Conservative verse and vers libre does not exist, for there is only good verse, bad verse, and chaos."