Sunday, January 30, 2011

Debatable ..

... `If One Has Something to Say'.

As someone who practices the plain style -- I could not write ornate prose even I wanted to -- I still would not be without my Robert Burton and my Sir Thomas Browne. And what of John Donne? I admire Winters, but I find him often dogmatic, and I think poetry and prose should be spared dogma. Like many people, Winters thought everybody should do things the way he did. Always a bad idea.

1 comment:

  1. Yvor Winters was an influential teacher, perhaps a great one, and occasionally wrote some great poems.

    But his literary criticism is among the most wrongheaded ever seen in print. He often gets it completely backwards. Winters was very much in the habit of asserting that one writer was better than another, that one style was better another, with nothing to back it on, and no proof by analysis. He just spoke from Mt. Olympus and expected to be believed.

    That's my opinion, yes, but it's also the opinion of many other poetry critics, including kenneth Rexroth. So it has some weight behind it.

    So I always take Winters' pronouncements with a large grain of salt.