Friday, July 25, 2014

The Health of Poetry

The day lilies were already blooming when we got here, because we were later this year. 
I ran outside just now to get this picture before the daylight was gone.

Just before we left last year I bought Czeslaw Milosz's Complete Poems (1931-2001) Ecco, 2003. 776 pages! That's a lot of poetry! I left a box of poetry books for my return and picked up this one first this morning. And in just a short while, I had found my old favorite and marked several more to use on this blog. S says I can't just use one poet all the time; I was planning to spread them out, really.

At the insistence of his publisher, he wrote a forward. It is one page long. Here is the last about forty percent of it.

I think that effort to capture as much as possible of tangible reality is the health of poetry.Having to choose between subjective art and objective art, I would vote for the latter, even if the meaning of that term is grasped not by theory, but by personal struggle. I hope that my practice justifies my claim.

The history of the twentieth century prompted many poets to design images that conveyed their moral protest. Yet to remain aware of the weight of fact without yielding to the temptation to become only a reporter is one of the most difficult puzzles confronting a practioner of poetry. It calls for a cunning in selecting one's means and a kind of distillation of material to achieve a distance to contemplate the things of this world as they are, without illusion. In other words, poetry has always been for me a participation in the humanly modulated time of my contemporaries.

Czeslaw  Milosz, from the Introduction to 
New and Collected Poems. n p.

"Tangible reality" this has always seemed very important to me in poems and I was delighted to find such a clear statement of it here. Now it is full dark and I am off to bed. Good night!

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