Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Something I Read #10 - Wallace Stevens

I used this in a recent post on the PDC, but I'll put it here as well. From "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words" in Necessary Angel:

There is not a poet whom we prize living today that does not address himself to an élite. The poet will continue to do this: to address himself to an élite even in a classless society, unless, perhaps, this exposes him to imprisonment or exile. In that event he is likely not to address himself to anyone at all. He may, like Shostakovich, content himself with pretence. He will, nevertheless, still be addressing himself to an élite, for all poets address themselves to someone and it is of the essence of that instinct, and it seems to amount to an instinct, that it should be to an élite, not to a drab but to a woman with the hair of a pythoness, not to a chamber of commerce but to a gallery of one's own, if there are still enough of one's own to fill a gallery. And that √©lite, if it responds, not out of complaissance, but because the poet has quickened it, because he has educed from it that for which it was searching in itself and in the life around it and which it had not yet quite found, will thereafter do for the poet what he cannot do for himself, that is to say, receive his poetry.


One of the curious-not-so-curious subtexts that can be seen within the discourse of poppoetry is the effort to deny such a thought.

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