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Of Modern Poetry

Rating: 3.3
The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice. It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.

It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice. It has
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V Harindhar Reddy 27 March 2020
Yes poetry changes time to time, splendidly written verse is this. It’s a poets poem.
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Lungelo S Mbuyazi 22 May 2018
Love the way it expressed the difference between the historic poetry and the morden poetry.., , great write..,
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Tamara 03 May 2018
Love this poem. It gave me chills it touched apart of me that I've not known just by reading a poem online.
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Lantz Pierre 14 May 2017
As Daniel Brick correctly notes in his post, this poem is meant to address what has historically become known as modernist art, not merely what is modern and contemporary in time. There was an upheaval in society's perception of the speed at which world events took place beginning roughly with the industrial revolution and really coming to a head with the horrors of the great war (World War I) . Stevens argues in this poem that the pretty pictures, the expected rhythms and rhymes are no longer adequate to describe the events and emotions of this modern world. You cannot rely on the old scripts and simply repeat them with new variations. The way we live in the world became fundamentally different and the art that could apply and appeal to these new circumstances had to be new. Had to be addressed to the actual living understanding that takes place in a mind in the act of being present and finding a way to conduct itself amongst the newest of this world and its advancements. An art form, a work of art itself has to be as alive and in the moment as the author and the audience both. To achieve that symbiosis is the goal. Not by looking back at the old forms and the old works, but by perspicaciousness requiring insight and not a little bit work and active interaction. That investment is paid off by subjective internalization of the work. A transcendence that suffices to carry us forward and anneal some the wounds of ignorance and division. This is one Stevens more didactic poems and from that angle not really one of his most satisfying, in my opinion. But it holds keys to reading some of the seemingly more opaque and metaphorical pieces he wrote, because just about everything he ever published touches on the theme explicated here.
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Daniel Brick 14 May 2017
Thanks, Lantz, for confirming my insight into Stevens's us of the word MODERN. With Stevens I am always a bit uncertain of my interpretation even though I've been reading his work since 1965. Sic! After his death Ezra Pound wrote Wm. Carlos Williams. Will we understand what he was saying now he's gone? He did not sound hopeful. Sic. But you can move securely through his puzzling poems.
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Lantz Pierre 14 May 2017
Denis, it might be helpful to you to see that where Wallace Stevens was a Modernist poet it sounds to me that your avant gardist friend is most likely a Post-Modernist. These are historical art movements and must not be confused with any notion of contemporaneous, recent chronological placement. There are still artists working within the Modernist framework of thought, which generally speaking still accepts the ideas of science and consensus of thought as a necessary and expedient means of navigating our world. Dialogue and conversation are not only possible but preferable under this aesthetic. There are universal truths that bind the Modernists together and help them to cohere. Post-Modernism, arising partly in response to the horror of World War II and the unthinkable atrocities that occurred then lead to an aesthetic response that reflected the idea that maybe we don't know how to talk to each other, maybe there are no universal truths to bind us, that are faith in community is ill-founded and all experience is first and foremost personal. But there is still an implicit acknowledgement of our communal plight in the fact that these Post-Modernist artists are still creating work for an audience and in that there is the idea of communication. It's just that there's a searching for a new model independent of the conventions that seem to always lead humanity back to atrocity. It is still hopeful, it is still conversant, it is still a galvanizing force.
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Its past was a souvenir.... thanks for posting.....
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An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend, Beyond which it has no will to rise................................................................... well observed modern mind of poets.
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Daniel Brick 14 May 2017
FIRST THINGS FIRST: not all poetry written in the present time is MODERN POETRY. Much of it is nowhere near Ezra Pound's requirement: MAKE IT NEW. The word MODERN refers not just to a shared passage of time, but a conception of THIS TIME and its particular needs. At very least the Modern Poem has to address, it not solve our current issues: it must suffice in fulfilling that task, or it's just pretty language and a nice but arbitrary way to pass the time, not to understand it or transform it. Neruda write about the ancient Incans killed by the Spanish: I COME TO SPEAK IN YOUR DEAD VOICES. He will be their witness. Stevens is saying something similar: Moderrn poetry must be so revelatory, so intimate, so personal that people reading think they are writing it. That the poetry and its meanings are already inside them, it they listen to the orphic depths of poetry which are fundamentally true.Stevens is always assuring is we have access to the same poetic depths he does, and we too can write the poem of the mind.
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Edward Kofi Louis 14 May 2017
It has no will to rise! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
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Manonton Dalan 09 January 2016
he probably just writing and writing whatever comes to his mind
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Ratnakar Mandlik 09 January 2016
An interesting and meaningful write on what is expected from a modern time poem and how it should speak and on what subject. Really an informative as well as educative too. Enjoyed the beautiful presentation in lyrical form. Thanks for sharing.
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