Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Archibald MacLeish

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

Abstractions are wonderfully clever tools for taking things apart and for arranging things in patterns but they are very little use in putting things together and no use at all when it comes to determining what things are for.

Archibald MacLeish, “Why Do We Teach Poetry?”

Written by nevalalee

November 26, 2018 at 7:30 am

The woman and the muse

leave a comment »

While the male poet, even at his most wretched and alienated, can at least solace himself with his open or secret creativity, his mythmaking power, the female poet must come to terms with the fact that as a female she is that which is mythologized, the incarnation of otherness (to use de Beauvoir’s terminology) and hence the object of anthologies full of male metaphors. Many of her hypotheses about herself are therefore in one way or another replies to prevalent definitions of her femininity, replies expressing either her distress at the disparity between male myths about her and her own sense of herself, or else her triumphant repudiation of those myths. Men tell her that she is a muse. Yet she knows that she is not a muse, she has a muse (and what is its sex?). Men tell her she is the “angel in the house,” yet she doesn’t feel angelic, and wonders, therefore, if she is a devil, a witch, an animal, a criminal. Men tell her that she is Molly Bloom, Mother Earth, Ishtar, a fertility goddess, a thing whose periodicity expresses the divine order (or is it the disorder?) of seasons, skies, stars. They tell her, echoing Archibald MacLeish’s definition of a poem, that she should not mean but be. Yet meanings delight her, along with seemings, games, plays, costumes, and ideas of order, as they delight male poets. But perhaps, she speculates, her rage for order is mistaken, presumptuous?

Sandra M. Gilbert, “My Name is Darkness”

Written by nevalalee

July 29, 2018 at 7:30 am

The art of rewriting

with one comment

Archibald MacLeish

There are always people coming up with the statement that they wrote such and such a poem or such and such poems, usually quite a number of them, right off, never changed a word. The minute you hear that you know the man is a) lying and doesn’t know what he is doing and b) that he’s probably no poet at all, because that just doesn’t happen…

Quite the contrary, because one finds in writing that it’s the meticulous labor of reworking which produces everything that’s good. Oh, there are a few things, what the French call données, that are put in your hand by God knows who, but very, very few…It’s the labor of rewriting—and rewriting isn’t really the right word for it; it’s sort of “again writing,” not rewriting—that signifies.

Archbald MacLeish, Reflections

Written by nevalalee

April 16, 2016 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

leave a comment »

Archibald MacLeish

The truth to be driven home is not that the poet is important. The truth to be driven home is that the poet is important only so long as he acts as [a] poet.

Archibald MacLeish

Written by nevalalee

July 2, 2015 at 7:30 am

%d bloggers like this: