Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The technique of morality

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Poetry, if pursued either by the poet or the reader, in the manner which I have suggested, should offer a means of enriching one’s awareness of human experience and of so rendering greater the possibility of intelligence in the course of future action: and it should offer likewise a means of inducing certain more or less constant habits of feeling, which should render greater the possibility of one’s acting, in a future situation, in accordance with the findings of one’s improved intelligence…

If the poetic discipline is to have steadiness and direction, it requires an antecedent discipline of ethical thinking and at least some ethical feeling, which may be in whole or in part the gift of religion or of a social tradition, or which may be largely the result of individual acquisition by way of study. The poetic discipline includes the antecedent discipline and more: it is the richest and most perfect technique of contemplation…Poetic mortality and poetic feeling are inseparable; feeling and technique, and structure, are inseparable. Technique has laws which govern poetic (and perhaps more general) morality more widely than is commonly recognized.

Yvor Winters, Primitivism and Decadence

Written by nevalalee

April 16, 2017 at 7:30 am

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