Poems, 1925-1940

Poems, 1925-1940

Poems, 1925-1940

Poems, 1925-1940

Excerpt

When a man collects his poems, people think he is dead. I am collecting mine not because I am dead, but because my past life is. Like most other people in the British Isles I have little idea what will happen next. I shall go on writing, but my writing will presumably be different.

Everything I have put into this book seems to me worth reading, though some of the poems, especially the softer adolescent ones in the first section, are very limited. I have included a little light verse because man's lightheadedness should sometimes be articulate.

All poems are not written the same way. Critics forget this. There are occasions for flatness and hyperbole, for concentration and diffuseness, for regular and irregular form, for both the unusual and the obvious, for uplift and understatement. A few of these poems are perhaps obscure, but others will only be found obscure by people who try to be too clever; my poem "Snow," for instance, means exactly what it says.

"Autumn journal," the long topical poem I wrote in the Fall of 1938, is in a sense a failure; it fails in depth. I had foreseen that failure. We shall not be capable of depth--of tragedy or great poetry--until we have made sense of our world. "Autumn Journal" remains a journal --topical, personal, rambling, but, failing other things, honest.

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