By Hope Mirrlees
Spanning a number of a long time of her lifestyles, a number of continents, and critical occasions, this choice of wish Mirrlees’s poetry comprises formerly unpublished paintings and the modernist writer’s later poems and essays, written circa 1920. additionally integrated is the whole textual content of Paris: A Poem—a daylong, psycho-geographical flânerie in the course of the streets and metro tunnels of post–World conflict I Paris. Groundbreaking and illuminating, this quantity is a testomony to Mirrlees’s contribution to 20th-century poetry.
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This model of poetic art needs to be continually reinvented because as soon as perceptual and compositional energies grow slack or seem inadequate to the mind's needs, writers seek to supplement concrete detail by symbolic generalization. Consider now the state of wind and syllable during the nine reigns when for Zukofsky there was no literary production. Here are Shelley-the beginning and ending of "Ode to the West Wind"-and Coleridge-from "Dejection: An Ode:' the seventh stanza: o wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes ...
6 Zukofsky begins with the act of seeing. We have, "out 38 Objectivist Poets in Context there;' an object. Light rays bounce off the object. But we cannot see the object unless a lens brings these rays into focus: the lens of a camera, the lens of an eyeball-or, Zukofsky implies, the poem. Three explicit variables, then: object, light rays, lens. And a fourth, implicit variable: a mind that perceives the focused image and thereby apprehends the object. The second meaning of "an objective:' the "military use:' shifts our attention from the mind's more or less passive apprehension of images to seeing as an act that directs itself toward the object.
Shelley and Coleridge introduce new sources of perceptual and philosophical energy into English poetry. But in making the act of the interpretive mind, rather than the measuring mind, the poems central focus, they also make central and inescapable some very serious problems. In their pursuit of dialectical symbolic structures capable of reconciling discordant elements into satisfying conceptual wholes, these poems simultaneously produce too little and too much meaning. On the one hand, the mind enacts only a mirage of seeing because it thinks about, rather than with, things.