Back from north woods, near Canadian border. Phoebe saw Bigfoot-like bear on hind legs, running. The rest of us heard it. We went the other way.

Have been back since Monday, swamped with office work.

By the perfect in poetry, I don't mean the slick, the mandarin, the pretentious, the complacent, the facile, the superficial, the remote, the archaicizing, the dull, the pedantic, the amateurish, the slack, the obfuscatory, the fake, the bathetic, the saccharine, the pontificatory, the self-righteous, the imitative, the sloppy, the portentous, the glib, the ingratiating, the garrulous, the drab, the mediocre, the demagogic, the ponderous, the vulgar (nor the "dead" either, pace Jordan).

The cultural authority of poetry (as with other art forms) depends on some original synthesis of:

- intellectual penetration (knowledge)
- empathy, humane engagement (feeling)
- beauty, style, precision (art)
- moral insight (ethics)

(their synthesis : evidence of genius, inspiration, Muse)

A critic should evaluate all these elements, and how they combine. The whole equals the poem's specific gravity - a judgement regarding its cultural value.

No comments: