Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

“A succession of separate poetic experiences…”

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John Drinkwater

Poetic tension can only be sustained for a short time. Poe’s saying that a long poem is a sequence of short ones is perfectly just. What happens, I think, is this. The poetic mood, selecting a subject, records its perception of that subject, the result is a lyric, and the mood passes. On its recurrence another subject is selected and the process repeated. But if another energy than the purely poetic, the energy of coordination of which I have spoken, comes into operation, there will be a desire by the poet to link the records of his recurrent poetic perceptions together, and so to construct many poems into a connected whole. Any long work in which poetry is persistent, be it epic or drama or narrative, is really a succession of separate poetic experiences governed into a related whole by an energy distinct from that which evoked them. The decision that the material used at one occurrence of the poetic mood shall be related to the material used at the next is not in itself an operation of the purely poetic energy, but of another.

John Drinkwater

Written by nevalalee

April 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

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