A poet's special pleading only goes so far. Poems of necessity make their way in the world completely on their own : their making is both counter-intuitive and intuitive, their reception by the public is no different.
Everybody has a unique personality, carries around their own baggage. Maybe I identify my own obsessions too directly with those of the public world... maybe I need some distance & objectivity.
- who knows. It's complex & intuitive (this matter of creativity). The mind (or the whole person, the soul) leaps ahead of itself, to take the place it somehow (instinctively, intuitively) senses is out there, waiting : the opportunity, the open door.
The "Acmeists" aimed for their own sort of public speech or craft, a certain "classical" worldliness. I suppose it's laughable to think of me & my writing in these terms. But in relation to the "American Acmeism" proto-essay posted here a few days ago, I thought of this poem from Dove Street, also posted here quite a while back : "Fragment from Purgatory".
What's interesting is that the poem addresses, sort of allegorically, what I called the authoritarianism of the Eliot/Pound strain (they are the two figures on the erratic ship), as well as the New-World ideal of freedom. Dante shows up here, and also Whitman, in the hobo figure at the end - who quotes a poem by Edwin Honig ("Freedom builds within/or breaks your bones" - from his poem "Cuba in Mind"). So here in this poem are the 2 ends of the spectrum I sketched out in the Acmeism essay (with say Eliot and Crane at either pole).
But I'm realizing lately that a poet has to step out and speak to the crowd. Theorizing and explaining and meditating and experimenting are necessary but not sufficient.
How this happens, though, is very complicated... since we live in a noisy age of self-promotion and gimmickry, of surfaces, not depths, sensations, not memory or knowledge. In the old days a poet like Yeats, for example (or Pound), would get up on their soap-box and declaim in the old bardic way... but nowadays maybe the poet has to be a master of quiet and silence... "slow poetry" of a sort... to speak clearly, yet neither mumble nor shout...