The Spiritual Aspects of the New Poetry

The Spiritual Aspects of the New Poetry

The Spiritual Aspects of the New Poetry

The Spiritual Aspects of the New Poetry

Excerpt

The field of contemporary poetry taken in all its variety offers an extraordinary interest to those concerned with values or who are in the best sense of the term moralists. Moreover, most of the chief types of perennial religious impulse are to be found here, and found in revealing relationship to present-day society. This literature offers itself both as a criticism of life today and as a testimony to life today, and because it is poetry its criticism and its testimony are of fundamental character. Here is a mirror in which the world can know itself and in which it can read its deepest dilemmas and its deepest omens.

Yet while the more strictly literary aspects of this field have been studied, there has been strangely little scrutiny of its spiritual aspects apart from some passing comment in critical essays. And these tentatives toward a general interpretation have been made almost exclusively by writers closely identified with the modernist movement in literature. It is high time that those who count themselves traditionalists in the best sense of the term should give to this rich body of material some of the same assessment and discernment that the contemporary novel has received.

Primary place must be given in any such consideration of contemporary poetry to work of nontraditional character, to work of the last two decades which is experimental or rebellious as judged by the standards before that time. I was one of those who had little acquaintance with . . .

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