Monday, October 18, 2010

Three necessary qualities for poems (Yeats)

Expression...depends entirely on the adequacy of the poet's technique: about that Yeats was very clear. In addressing technique he emphasized, in his maturity, three necessary qualities: that the poet's sentences should sound like speech, that words must be put into their "natural order," and that an emotional unity should connect the parts of a work of art. "I always try for the most natural order possible, largely to make thought which being poetical always is difficult to modern people as plain as I can." The lack of one or more of these qualities was what he generally criticized in the work of others. "I cannot say" (he wrote to one would-be poet who had sent Yeats some of his verses) "that any of these poems have the perfection of form, the emotional unity, that is lasting poetry." - Helen Vendler


  1. You can't believe anything a poet tells you about how to write poetry because actually you write the poem first with your totality of being - and then make up this 'technique' bullshit afterwords.

  2. yeah. but sometimes you write with the totality of
    your being and no one understands. That's difficult to deal with, if you want to be understood at least to some degree by your audience. Could be that technique helps others understand your work. This implies a little bit of a classical idea that certain feelings are eternal and that if expressed in a certain way, (a form, a technique) everyone will understand them. This implies you want to be understood. If you write a poem and no one understands it, did you really write a poem. Do poems need an audience. If a tree falls in the forest...