Friday, February 1, 2013

the Muse

T.S. Eliot must think that our feelings have an "on" and "off" switch. He says that poetry is not about the poet. 

I can understand this, to a point. I make sure I don't write when I'm ecstatic or sobbing, because I will write crap. We've all seen angsty poems. These are usually the product of emotional writing (synonym: word vomit). I've learned to allow myself to calm down and think about how I feel before I, in an emotional state, start oozing onto a page.

However, I think that there is a certain energy that is gained from emotional poetry. I was sitting with Dr. Bob during Portfolio Review, looking at some of my poems. He could pinpoint the strongest and weakest parts of my poetry through the energy. Other parts of the poems felt almost mechanical.

In the words of the wise Dr. Bob, "You know about the Muse? Well, here, you are looking into the eyes of the Muse," he said, pointing at the page. "And here, you aren't." He pointed to an earlier line.

If Eliot thinks that the poet's feelings shouldn't be in the poem, where will the energy come from? He seems to think that compiling words and images is enough. I don't know if this is true. I think there must be some kind of hunger or fire that moves through the poem to make it live.


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