Thursday, January 08, 2009

Twelve Poets on the Left

TLS May 30 2008

from H. R. Woudhuysen's "Bound to please":

For Larkin, two sorts of books needed to be readily accessible: "Within reach of my working chair I have reference books on the right, and twelve poets on the left". No doubt some of his poets (who included Barnes, Praed, Whitman and Frost) could be found at the Fair in early or interesting editions.

I first read "reference books" as Work, and "poets" as Pleasure, but realized they were Work and Work, since Larkin reaches for them from his working chair, and refers to them as if they were his hands. So, my twelve hardworking poets--in other words, huge quarries for my work--are:

1. Shakespeare
2. Milton
3. Pope
4. Keats
5. Whitman
6. Stevens
7. Yeats
8. Eliot
9. Moore
10. Auden
11. Larkin
12. Heaney


from Zinovy Zinik's Commentary piece "Dinner party test":

A major poet can be both a politician and a hermit, but major poetry is unthinkable without a major readership. A poet who renounces the social power of the word is considerably worse than King Lear when he decided to put the loyalty of his daughters and subjects to the test by abdicating, because a king without his crown is still a king by lineage, but a poet who condemns his words to eternal solitary confinement is no poet.


from Theodore K. Rabb's review of "El Greco to Velazquez" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:

This last collection, though unrecoverable, has prompted one of the delights of the exhibition: a recreation of the shelves of Lerma's camarin, the cabinet where he displayed ravishing examples of glass and ceramic objects from home and abroad, whether Venice, China, or the New World. Unlike the Kunstkammer, filled with unicorn horns and other peculiarities that delighted princes elsewhere in Europe, the camarin's elegant linkage of domestic utility with public art was a particularly Spanish interest. Lerma's, however, was by far the most spectacular instance, and the homage in Boston, with a few dozen shimmering objects, can only hint at the beauties that must have adorned the camarin in the Duke's palace in Madrid.


from Clare Griffiths' review of "Heart of Darkness: Ivory carving and Belgian colonialism" at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds:

Examined at close quarters, ivory can confound expectations. It has the creamy translucence one would imagine, but perhaps more notable is its grain, like the year circles in a tree trunk, with a marbling that casts waves across the surface. From a distance, all this resolves into the smoothness of bone; near to, it suggests the character of wood, with its depth and warmth.


Eshuneutics said...

An interesting 12.

Mine would be:


Jee Leong Koh said...

The mystics, or should I say, hermetics?

glbynum said...

Hi Jee Leong. I like very much the idea that a poet cannot renounce the social power of the word. -Greg