Saturday, April 8, 2017
(And now that I have written that, I wonder if it's true: Can one say this about Emily Dickinson? I think so, even if she didn't care [and one feels she may not have cared a whole heck of a lot] about giving the reader space. But space there is, if only for a reader to discover him/herself trying to find common ground with this uncommon poet—and that's a pretty remarkable space. So.)
Modern poetry certainly did not begin as confessional poetry: think of Dickinson; think of Whitman who, for all his frankness, did not "put it all out there"; think of Eliot (another strong, distinctive, unmistakeable voice)—all of whom remain "hidden" in a sense (in many senses) and yet whose words we read again and again, returning to the words, returning to them, the ones who are hidden and yet who reveal so much. The idea that poetry is a means of self-discovery is a modern one; the truth of which "self" one is discovering as one reads (or even as one writes) is what makes it so deeply and infinitely interesting.