Measured Extravagance

15 September 2003 - 10:02 a.m.

Haven't had time to read the whole thing yet, but Mark Halliday's essay on The Arrogance of Poetry looks as though it may fit in with several off-page conversations I've been having on the subject:

You and I, we read poems almost every day. We keep doing this even though most poems disappoint us. We are romantics we keep expecting the marvelous poem that will change our lives. We try to read intelligently, and even skeptically, but we are ready to fall in love.

Sometimes fatigue or a journal stuffed with bad poems throws us into poetry-dismay, even poetry-disgust, but poetry soon wins us back. A good poem comes along that is damned appealing; it has charisma, it has a peculiar panache, it cuts a new path through experience, it expresses or it is a new truth, or new edge of truth. Life is suddenly undreary.

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