Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Hayden Carruth

The personality of style

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Style is the property of a poem that expresses the poet’s personality. Either his real personality or his invented personality; or, most likely, a combination of the two…Style consists of factors so minutely constituted and so obscurely combined that they simply are not separable and not measurable, except in the grossest ways. Yet we know a style when we see it, we recognize it and are attracted or repelled by it. One reason for this is the fact that style is a continuing element in a poet’s work, it remains consistently itself from one poem to another, even though the poems in other respects are notably dissimilar. We speak of the “growth” and “maturity” of a poet’s style in the same way that we speak of the growth and maturity of a person. This is an interesting fact; it may even sometimes be a crucial fact, as when we are attempting to explain the incidence of poetic genius. But it can also be a dangerous fact, for it leads to the state of mind in which style seems to be abstract from the poem, abstract from form itself.

Hayden Carruth, “The Question of Poetic Form”

Written by nevalalee

December 29, 2018 at 7:30 am

Quote of the Day

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What I am asking for, I think, is the state of mind that can see and accept and believe ideas in conflict, without ambivalence or a sense of self-divisiveness. Call it eclecticism if you will. I’ve been accused of it often enough, the word flung at me like a curse. But just as I, a radical, distrust other radicals who are not in part conservatives—i.e., who are ideologues—so I distrust poets who cannot perceive the multiplexity of their art, preserve it and relish it. Poetry is where you find it.

Hayden Carruth, Selected Essays

Written by nevalalee

October 27, 2017 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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