Thursday, July 13, 2017

Definitive …

 May Sinclair: Poems of H.D. —The Fortnightly Review. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Talents have died before now of their own growth for lack of a form that allows expansion. I don’t want to raise again the question whether good verse is, as Mr. Flint and Wordsworth maintain, nothing but good prose. Only whereas with the writer of good prose, however uninspired, language and meaning go evenly together, the purely lyric poet who rhymes and metres is apt to be overtaken by a dark rush of winged words before he is aware of his meaning. For he is at the mercy of rhyme and metre. Not so the vers librist. He is free to follow his thoughts in their own movement. Instead of twisting themselves in unnatural inversions or halting for the cadence and the rhyme, his thoughts are free. Before the dangerous inspiration is upon her, “H.D.” has clarified her thought to its last transparency, and her future work should stand as high or higher than her past.
These are fighting words nowadays, but they remind that thought is fundamental to great verse. This review is the most comprehensive and spot-on treatment of H.D.'s work that I have read. I have lved her poetry since I discovered it in the Holmesburg Library many decades ago. I was in my early teens. I felt, reading her poems, that poetry was the way to truth. I owe her much.

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