Marianne Moore: “Poetry”



I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
         all this fiddle.
      Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
         discovers in
      it after all, a place for the genuine.
         Hands that can grasp, eyes
         that can dilate, hair that can rise
              if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
         they are
      useful. When they become so derivative as to become
      the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
         do not admire what
         we cannot understand: the bat
              holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
         wolf under
      a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
         that feels a flea, the base-
      ball fan, the statistician–
         nor is it valid
              to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make
         a distinction
      however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
         result is not poetry,
      nor till the poets among us can be
         “literalists of
         the imagination”–above
              insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, “imaginary gardens with real toads in them,”
         shall we have
      it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
      the raw material of poetry in
         all its rawness and
         that which is on the other hand
              genuine, you are interested in poetry.

Marianne Moore


~ by matt on 9 February 2009.

One Response to “Marianne Moore: “Poetry””

  1. wonderful poem.but could i get a breakdown of d poem.lik d figurativ speeches and d literal meanin

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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