Sent this comment to Harriet blog :

"...The anxious aura around poetry. But I don't think it's only a matter of feeling intimidated by "not understanding". If people can read & understand all kinds of prose books, they can understand poetry.

Poetry does not fit neatly into substantial "book" form. The reader cannot relax into the comfy alternate prose world. The "packaging" is thin. The difference between prose & poetry is this dramatic IMMEDIACY - the same sense of vague threat or discomfort you may feel from sitting too close to the stage at live theater. Is it "real" or is it "fiction"? Is it art, or is it this person in my face, so to speak, talking straight at me?

Poets in person have been Sacred Monsters, surrounded by this aura of unpredictable immediacy, since the days of Dylan Thomas & before (say, back to the Hebrew prophets, & Plato...). Popular poets sometimes get around this by assuming a kind of camouflage (familiar example : Robert Frost, in his complete Old Yankee outfit). You never know about poets. They are longhairs. They may be lunatics.

Accept the perennial reality of the Sacred Monster, folks. Learn to live with poetry's essential strangeness. The straw man of "difficult" Modernism is not the problem. The dream of domesticating poetry, of measuring its "popularity" like other forms of art & entertainment, will never come true. It died with the Fireside Poets, smoking their pipes under the iron rooftops of Victorian Scientific Progress. It died with the Restoration Wits, jingling along with their metrical cribs of Rationalism. It's always dying off, shedding its skin. Dionysius is always lurking in the woods nearby."

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