Monday, February 4, 2013

Eliot's Judgment

T.S. Eliot says that a poet will “be judged by the standards of the past.” However, this does not mean that dead poets must return from the grave to determine the value of current poets. He explains, “I say judged, not amputated, by them; not judged to be as good as, or worse or better than, the dead; and certainly not judged by the canons of dead critics. It is a judgment, a comparison, in which two things are measured by each other.” I think what he is saying ties in with his belief that nothing is truly original. Poets must build upon the past, and, in that sense, should be compared. They cannot repeat previous poetry, but instead, must take it and make it their own. They must both conform and be individual. This makes sense to me because if a poet did not conform and instead created something completely new, then it might not even be recognized as poetry. A poet must use tradition and standards of the past as a foundation and then add in their own individuality.

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