16 feb. 2004

The Brutal Kittens quotes a student saying this:

"It seems as though The Idea of Order at Key West is a poem meant to be read, read again, and eventually understood. . . I guess it got me thinking about where Wallace Stevens comes into the current discussions we are engaged in. . .I want to read The Idea of Order at Key West and appreciate it wholly, but there is this underlying question or gnawing that says: That’s not a poem that anyone now would ever think or dare to write. What can it teach me then? I guess the question I’m getting at- how does one use those old poets as teachers? When someone asks me, “Who are your influences?” how come replying “Wallace Stevens,” feels absurd to me? I feel as though the real teachers, the real influences for me can only be people who are writing now, and in such a way that it forces me to constantly re-examine how to read, why to read etc."

I agree completely with what James says about this. How could you not be influenced by everyone who ever wrote? It would never occur to me to think an "old poet" was less relevant than a contemporary.


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