Tagged with t s eliot

Residency day 7

The pacing of the residency is such that it kind of feels like it’s all coasting from here on. The morning seminar was “Anthology” with Denis Johnson in which we contributed poems that made us want to be a writer. I, being a fiction person, lied and chose “These Poems, She Said” by Robert Bringhurst. If I were honest I would have chosen T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” but someone else picked it so all was good.

Workshop was dedicated to new five-page stories that we brought in. I managed to get a new piece finished last night before going to sleep, but it will apparently come up tomorrow.

The first afternoon seminar slot was dedicated to book arts in which we did a simple pamphlet stitch. Having studied bookbinding back in the 90s, it as a bit unexciting for me. This was followed by Josip Novakovich talking about creating stories out of anecdotes, something which had some resonance later during the question and answer session after Denis Johnson’s reading.

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Beautiful sentences

As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game.
T. S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry & The Use of Criticism.

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Beautiful sentences

But what we experience as readers is never exactly what the poet experienced, nor would there be any point in its being, though certainly it has some relation to the poet’s experience. What the poet experienced is not poetry but poetic material; the writing of the poetry is a fresh “experience” for him, and the reading of it, by the author or by anyone else, is another thing still.
T. S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry & The Use of Criticism.

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Beautiful sentences

If people only wrote when they had something to say, and never merely because they wanted to write a book, or because they occupied a position such that the writing of books was expected of them, the mass of criticism would not be wholly out of proportion to the small number of critical books worth reading.
T. S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry & The Use of Criticism.

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Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny

While reading T. S. Eliot’s The Use of Poetry & The Use of Criticism, I came across an interesting observation:

For the simplest auditors there is the plot, for the more thoughtful the character and conflict of character, for the more literary the words and phrasing, for the more musically sensitive the rhythm, and for auditors of greater sensitiveness and understanding a meaning which reveals itself gradually.

While Eliot is talking here about people’s reaction to a play of Shakespeare, I found that this also rather accurately describes a lot of what I do in my writing. In the first draft(s), I’m focusing on the plot, then character and conflict, then language, and deeper meanings. It’s of course, not quite as linear as all that, but this does give a rough approximation of what’s going through my mind in the writing process.

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