Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rule 2: whether a poem is good depends a lot on the writer's biography

The Ammons poem ("In View of the Fact") is pretty good, but you've read better Ammons. The part I like is "we have already lost so many, / brushed the loss of ourselves ourselves: our / address books for so long a slow scramble...," partly, I suppose, because it reminds me of Dante through Eliot, but mainly for "the loss of ourselves ourselves: our".

That particular poem was selected, I'll dare to guess, because Ammons was an old man who soon would die and was writing as an old man who soon would die, who was watching his friends drop off the perch and clinging to the few who remained. It's a sentimental poem that was chosen for sentimental reasons.


Blogger Jehza said...

Yes, I see the Eliot in that, surely, "I had not thought death had undone so many."

And I'd agree with Rule 2 if it was stated that, "whether a poem is [accepted as] good depends a lot on the writer's biography."

In that sense, American romanticism and sentimentality will always prevail...

Wed Oct 05, 04:22:00 PM GMT+2  

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