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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Reaching People, One-By-One


“Never use the word 'audience.' The very idea of a public, unless the poet is writing for money, seems wrong to me. Poets don't have an 'audience'. They're talking to a single person all the time.” – Robert Graves

Graves, born in England in July, 1895, made his living as a historical novelist (I, Claudius and The Golden Fleece are just two examples), critic, and translator of Greek and Roman Classics.  But poetry was his first love and he wrote hundreds of poems on every topic imaginable..  His study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess—has been continuously in print since 1948.  “To be a poet is a condition rather than a profession,” he said.

For Saturday’s Poem, here is Graves’

Free Verse

I now delight
In spite
Of the might
And the right
Of classic tradition,
In writing
And reciting
Straight ahead,
Without let or omission,
Just any little rhyme
In any little time
That runs in my head;
Because, I’ve said,
My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed
Like Prussian soldiers on parade
That march,
Stiff as starch,
Foot to foot,
Boot to boot,
Blade to blade,
Button to button,
Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton.
No! No!
My rhymes must go
Turn ’ee, twist ’ee,
Twinkling, frosty,
Will-o’-the-wisp-like, misty;
Rhymes I will make
Like Keats and Blake
And Christina Rossetti,
With run and ripple and shake.
How pretty
To take
A merry little rhyme
In a jolly little time
And poke it,
And choke it,
Change it, arrange it,
Straight-lace it, deface it,
Pleat it with pleats,
Sheet it with sheets
Of empty conceits,
And chop and chew,
And hack and hew,
And weld it into a uniform stanza,
And evolve a neat,
Complacent, complete,
Academic extravaganza!


 
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