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Junior Poet Preparatory Notes Preceding the Final

Junior Poet Preparatory Notes Preceding the Final

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Published by Christopher Brown
Just some rambling notes I gathered together in preparing the essay portion of the final exam.
Just some rambling notes I gathered together in preparing the essay portion of the final exam.

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Published by: Christopher Brown on Dec 06, 2008
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06/17/2009

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Junior Poet Final Notes2007.12.17Christopher Brown
Poetry is not a tool, nor utilitarian. But it holds a place as a subtle way to improve society.
True, poetry no longer holds any real survival / propagation purpose with the introduction of thewritten word and simultaneous end of oral tradition. Poetry began as song, a mnemonic useful for remembering things.
o
“Memorable Speech (or Language)”
o
What place does poetry have, then, after its application to hunting-gathering / reading-the-stars-to-navigate has left?
o
From a utilitarian standpoint, poetry may seem false
Spartans didn’t write/read poetry
It has become a leisure time activity. Has it become, also, a thing only enjoyed by poets. Or mereaesthetic?
Poetry, indeed, does not affect history.
o
“If not a poem had been written, not a picture painted, not a bar of music composed, the historyof man would be materially unchanged” (The Public v. the Late William Butler Yeats)
o
Auden: “For poetry makes nothing happen” instead, it is “A way of happening, a mouth.”
It “inflects” instead of “making happen” (Dr. Osborn: Lecture)
o
Contemporary poet Paul Muldoon is even harsher, in “7, Middagh Street”
As for [Yeats's] crass, rhetorical posturing, 'Did that play of minesend out certain men (certain men?)the English shot ...?'the answer is 'Certainly not'.If Yeats had saved his pencil-leadwould certain men have stayed in bed?For history's a twisted rootwith art its small, translucent fruitand never the other way round.
Subjugation, as poetry, to the aesthetic – that is, not an end in itself, or a direct cause to effect achange. It is a cause of a cause – it changes man, who changes the world. Although poets such asWallaces Stevens and Philip Sidney want to show how poetry is an act of the citizen in society, asSeamus Heaney writes in the Redress of Poetry, insisting that their words “are intended to be morethan merely sonorous,” poetry is not. As Jorge Luis Borges writes “the taste of the apple (statesBerkeley) lies in the contact of the fruit with the palate, not in the fruit itself; in a similar way (Iwould say) poetry lies in the meeting of poem and reader”.
Transition: if poetry does not do anything, what is it for? It’s art.
o
Allan Grossman’s 2 points: 1. Discourse. 2. Value individuals.
Split into two categories, via “Psychology and Art To-Day.” “There must always be two kinds of art,escape-art, for man needs escape as he needs good and deep sleep, and parable-art, that art whichshall teach man to unlearn hatred and learn love”
o
One is to delight, the other to teach
o
Escape-art
This is, first, a fantasy world that entails intemporality.
Is comprised of extremes. “The Truest Poetry is the Most Feigning”
Poems that strive to make permanent:
Hopkins, “The Leaden Echo,” “[I]s there any … latch or catch or key to keep / Back  beauty … from vanishing away?” … “O no there’s none” … “Be beginning to despair”Yet “There is one … Where whatever’s prized … Never fleets more … Seal them, sendthem, motion them with breath”
Shakespeare, “Sonnet 65” – “who [time’s] spoil of beauty can forbid? / O, none, unless
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Junior Poet Final Notes2007.12.17Christopher Brown
this miracle have might, / That in black ink my love may still shine bright.”
Poems living in the ecstasy of the present:
Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”Do not go gentle into that good night,Old age should burn and rave at close of day;Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right,Because their words had forked no lightning theyDo not go gentle into that good night.
Whitman, “To a Locomotive in Winter” – poetry makes the material into ethereal, frees itfrom physicality’s bondage: “Roll through my chant with all thy lawless music … To thefree skies unpent and glad and strong”
Hardy, “Darkling Thrush” – “So little cause for carolings / Of such ecstatic sound / Waswritten on terrestrial things / Afar or nigh around, / That I could think there trembledthrough / His happy good-night air / Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew / And I wasunaware.”
Sonnet 73 (p. 264)
“Ballad of Barnaby”
Poems exhorting “carpe diem”
 To the Virgins to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick
 
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,Old time is still a-flying;And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.
Auden, “Lullaby,” love of fate: “Amore Fate”, Despite that “Certainty, fidelity / On thestroke of midnight pass,” and “Time and fevers burn away / Individual beauty”, thespeaker wishes to enjoy the present, while he can, “till break of day”
Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”
“Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Frost
“Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now,” Housman (1173)
“Go, Lovely Rose” (p. 393) Worth conceived in praise.
Poems exalting the fantasy possible in memory and imagination
Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”VI do not know which to prefer, The beauty of inflectionsOr the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistlingOr just after.
Andrew Marvell, “The Garden”
Keats – Ode on a Grecian UrnHeard melodies are sweet, but those unheardAre sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”
Conclude:
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Junior Poet Final Notes2007.12.17Christopher Brown
Thus, praising the present immortalizes it. This is unreal. But pleasant.
Insufficient.
The Public v. The Late WB Yeats, “In 1900 he believed in Fairies; that was bad enough”(391)
Thus we get:
o
Parable-art
Metaphor
approaches truth more closely than scientific inspection can do.
Frost: “the more accurately you know where a thing is, the less accurately you are able tostate how fast it is moving” – that is, standing back lets you get a better look at both.Also, the individual particular is free, but the general mass follows necessity – this is howmetaphor is useful in knowing more than we could by close inspection (Education byPoetry: A Meditative Monologue)
Shelley: Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty. Poetry is the foundational source of all things. It is where unapprehended things are discovered. Metaphor is what allows usto see beyond the veil. And not only to see, but to cut down as well.
Teaches
the reader to appreciate, to praise.
Yeats, “The Gyres,” naming self as the “voice”: “Out of cavern comes a voice / And all itknows is that one word 'Rejoice!'”
“In the prison of his days / Teach the free man how to praise”
“[Poetry] enlarges the mind itself by rendering it the receptacle of a thousandunapprehended combinations of thought.” – Shelley
Poetry lifts the veil from hidden beauty. “All high poetry is infinite” – Shelley
Blake – Miniscule Details.
Also, in some cases, incites man to aspire to be heroic, like Achilles in the case of Homer (Shelley). This is not the majority.
o
Conclude:
Parable-art is completely lost without the help of the reader, and his reaction.
Final goal exemplified in exhortation to merge reader and poetry.
o
In Memory of W. B. Yeats
o
Wallace Stevens, “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm” – “The reader became the book” – he is incorporated into the poetry, which is nothing without him.
o
Stevens, “The Idea of Order at Key West” – our words make our reality. Mimesis. Poesis.It was her voice that madeThe sky acutest at its vanishing.She measured to the hour its solitude.She was the single artificer of the worldIn which she sang. And when she sang, the sea,Whatever self it had, became the self That was her song, for she was the maker. Then we,As we beheld her striding there alone,Knew that there never was a world for her Except the one she sang and, singing, made.
o
Shelley wrote “The functions of the poetical faculty are two-fold: by one it creates new materialsof knowledge, and power, and pleasure; by the other it engenders in the mind a desire toreproduce and arrange them according to a certain rhythm and order which my be called the beautiful and the good.”
He also wrote: “All things exist as they are perceived”
And “Poets are the unacknowledged of the world”
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