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05/17/2018

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Did Maclin Horton write this?

AMDG

I don't know. I'll see if I can find out.

Apparently so.

I'm laughing that it took you an hour and a half to find out!

He seemed uncooperative. Grumbled that it was his blog and he didn't have to identify himself.

I can't find the cat here either...

I was trying to decide whether ir not ro read it.

"Ir" Guess I deserve that.

AMDG

Mac Horton's war on Sylvia Plath!

I just typed that because it sounds funny.

:-) :-) It does.

Actually the reason it took an hour and a half was that I was on the wrong computer (the work-I-get-paid-for one).

Did you decide ro read it, Janet? :-) Btw I didn't mind you pointing out the lack of byline. I was just goofing around.

I didn't really mind if you minded. ;-)

Not yet. We are listening to a book in the car. I will read it when I get some place quiet.

AMDG

Here is an article by John Barr (whoever he is) about the distinction between verse and poetry.

Verse, I have come to think, is poetry written in pursuit of limited objectives: to entertain us with a joke or tall tale, to give us the inherent pleasures of meter and rhyme. It is not great art, nor is it trying to be. Verse, as Orwell says, tells us something we already know—as often as not something we know we already know. Verse is not an instrument of exploration, but rather a tool of affirmation. Its rewards lie not in the excitements of discovery, but in the pleasures of encountering the familiar.

and, "A poem begins in delight, [Frost] says, and ends in wisdom. Verse begins in delight and ends in . . . more delight."

Poor McGinley, she was probably just too sane for the times she lived in. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, not so much.

Also, she was already in her late-30s during World War II, while Sexton and Plath were still young girls. Living through the daily horrors of that war must have given McGinley a deep appreciation of an ordinary life in suburbia.

As I recall she has some very poignant poems about boys going off to war. She didn't have any sons though so it wasn't an immediately personal thing for her. I think there is also some griping about rationing and other wartime annoyances.

Robert, I've only read the paragraph you quoted, but I don't buy that verse-prose distinction. It sounds like he's using "verse" to mean "light verse." Even then I'm not sure I'd agree. I don't know what dictionaries say, but I'd be hard put to come up with definitions of both words that made any very clear distinction between them. I guess I think of "verse" as referring strictly to form, with "poetry" being used more flexibly.

Is this a patische of some more familiar poem? Maybe just sort of R. L. Stevenson.

AMDG

Not to my knowledge, but that certainly doesn't mean it isn't.

What did Orwell and Frost mean? The point is that verse can be well-crafted, but it's not an adventure. Or something like that.

Right, I understand what they mean (I think), I just don't agree. It's too long to quote but I have a book called The Poet's Handbook by Judson Jerome in which he recounts an incident from his college days. The instructor asked the class to define poetry. He let them blather on for a while with a lot of grandiose but imprecise definitions, maybe somewhat like Frost's and Orwell's, and then told them that he defines it as "metrical writing". I like that a lot. Orwell's and Frost's seem rather gaseous. Not that they're wrong about what good poetry does or can do, but it's not sufficient to distinguish verse from poetry.

"What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed"--by Orwell's definition would Pope qualify as a poet, I wonder?

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