“What is poetry?” revisited

“Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.”

Who can disagree with Ezra Pound? But notice that this does not differentiate at all between poetry and prose. To solidify this difference, we must turn to my favorite critic, Terry Eagleton:

“The difference between poetry and prose is that in poetry, the author decides where to end the line whereas in prose, the printer decides.”

The Argumentative Old Git

I can’t really remember who it was who said “If I think today what I thought yesterday, I haven’t been thinking in the meantime”. Maybe no-one said it. Maybe it’s one of those made-up quotes attributed to some famous name, like Einstein say, who, if the internet is to be believed, spent so much time making up smartarse lines that it’s a wonder he had any time left over to think about relativity and the like. But whether it’s a real quote or not, there’s more than an element of truth in it: I’m sure I’m not the only blogger who looks over past posts and thinks “No – that really won’t do will it?”

It was this post in particular that caught my eye lately, and stirred my disapproval of what I used once to think. To save you clicking on it, I had tried to answer the question…

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