1 may. 2003

"They are by and large brief, rarely exceeding a page or two, and have about them a degree of emotional intensity that accounts for their having been written at all. At their best they represent the shadowy, often ephemeral motions of thought and feeling, and do so in ways that are clear and comprehensible. They not only fix in language what is most elusive about our experience, they convince us of its importance, even its truth. Of all literary genres the lyric is the least changeable. Its themes are rooted in the continuity of human subjectivity and from the antiquity have assumed a connection between privacy and universality. If this were not true, there would be no point in reading poems from the past. They speak to us with the immediacy that time has not diminished and gauge our humanness as accurately and as passionately as any poem written today." --Mark Strand

Can I pin down what is objectionable in this description of lyric poems? The ahistorical generalization of one Romantic, historicized definition to all eternity, for one thing. How do you gauge humanness?

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