Beyond Poetry

Ted Burke looks at a particularly contrived poem and concludes with this wonderful paragraph

The issue, I think, is that O’Hara and Creeley understood the situations when what the poet thinks of what’s happening inside his poem isn’t important and is, in fact, the least interesting aspect to consider; what’s missed in “Just a Tranquil Darker” is that lack of humility that prevents a writer from forgetting that they are a poet and so be able to get at something out of his control, a phenomenon that just wandered into his perceptual field by the odd chance. There are those things which occur that stop time the slightest bit, amaze and confuse our codes, and then are gone, sketchy and yet vivid, a perception that remains in memory and which changes us a bit each day, each year that follows. Getting these incidences right in poetry –right in feel, tone, texture, pitch—and Hodgen hasn’t done it here. But he did remember that he was a poet, and that is exactly how he chose to behave here, and that’s a shame.

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