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The Literary Agenda is a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities. The category of 'the literary' has always been contentious. What is clear, however, is how increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an are The Literary Agenda is a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities. The category of 'the literary' has always been contentious. What is clear, however, is how increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an arena for thought. It is sceptically challenged from within, for example, by the sometimes rival claims of cultural history, contextualized explanation, or media studies. It is shaken from without by even greater pressures: by economic exigency and the severe social attitudes that can follow from it; by technological change that may leave the traditional forms of serious human communication looking merely antiquated. For just these reasons this is the right time for renewal, to start reinvigorated work into the meaning and value of literary reading. In this fascinating addition to the Literary Agenda series, David Constantine argues that poetry matters. It matters for individuals and for the society they are members of. He asserts that poetry is not for the few but for the many, and belongs and can only thrive among them, speaks of and to their concerns. The Poet considers both the writing and the reading of poetry, which the Constantine views as kindred activities. He examines what goes into the writing of a poem and considers what good there is in reading it. Constantine also considers translation, arguing that great benefit comes to the native language from dealings with the foreign; also, that all reading is a form of translation - of texts into the lives we lead. Altogether, The Poet is an attempt, with many quotations, to show how poetry works, what its responsibilities are, and how it may help us in our real circumstances now.


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The Literary Agenda is a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities. The category of 'the literary' has always been contentious. What is clear, however, is how increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an are The Literary Agenda is a series of short polemical monographs about the importance of literature and of reading in the wider world and about the state of literary education inside schools and universities. The category of 'the literary' has always been contentious. What is clear, however, is how increasingly it is dismissed or is unrecognised as a way of thinking or an arena for thought. It is sceptically challenged from within, for example, by the sometimes rival claims of cultural history, contextualized explanation, or media studies. It is shaken from without by even greater pressures: by economic exigency and the severe social attitudes that can follow from it; by technological change that may leave the traditional forms of serious human communication looking merely antiquated. For just these reasons this is the right time for renewal, to start reinvigorated work into the meaning and value of literary reading. In this fascinating addition to the Literary Agenda series, David Constantine argues that poetry matters. It matters for individuals and for the society they are members of. He asserts that poetry is not for the few but for the many, and belongs and can only thrive among them, speaks of and to their concerns. The Poet considers both the writing and the reading of poetry, which the Constantine views as kindred activities. He examines what goes into the writing of a poem and considers what good there is in reading it. Constantine also considers translation, arguing that great benefit comes to the native language from dealings with the foreign; also, that all reading is a form of translation - of texts into the lives we lead. Altogether, The Poet is an attempt, with many quotations, to show how poetry works, what its responsibilities are, and how it may help us in our real circumstances now.

33 review for Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Taylor

    Every writer has the right to grind an axe or hone a dagger, blunt a cudgel or fire a brick, roll a stone or call out names at the people walking in the street below. Accuse, rant, grumble or complain. Whatever. But in a book intended to show that poetry matters, David Constantine says some very odd things. He begins slowly. In the first section, “The Writing and Reading of Poetry”, Constantine bemoans what he sees as the falling status of literature then moves on to talk about what d Every writer has the right to grind an axe or hone a dagger, blunt a cudgel or fire a brick, roll a stone or call out names at the people walking in the street below. Accuse, rant, grumble or complain. Whatever. But in a book intended to show that poetry matters, David Constantine says some very odd things. He begins slowly. In the first section, “The Writing and Reading of Poetry”, Constantine bemoans what he sees as the falling status of literature then moves on to talk about what distinguishes poetry from ordinary speech. He suggests that poetry “signals its strangeness” by form, metre, rhythm, word order and other devices which say to the reader: pay attention. He argues that poetry is “knowledge in the making”, a form of realization whereby the inchoate is given form via the particular: a “local habitation”. The writing of poetry embodies that realization process, as does the reading. Grounded in the particular, the poem enables a clarity of private truth to resonate with common experience. The reader understands not just the particularity of the poem but its illumination of general thoughts, experiences and feelings. The “other” becomes understandable as akin; and yet remains fully particular and other. So far, so good. Constantine is talking about poetry at its best. And he is providing one view of the writing and reading process. Individuals differ. As do poems and their writing and reading. But, by and large, what he says makes sense. One notable exception is an odd discussion about the writing process as an exercise in poetic archaeology. Constantine quotes Robert Graves who suggests: “A true poem is best regarded as already existing before it has been composed: with composition as the act of deducing its entirety from a single key phrase.” The poem is out there, somewhere, waiting to be found, recorded and revealed to the public. This is high altitude thinking, quasi-platonic in tone. One can only wonder whether the poem pre-exists the existence of the poet or if the poem comes into pre-existence when the poet is born: a simultaneous bipartite ontological event which enables the now pre-existent poem to become an existent poem once the actual existent pre-poet becomes a real poet and writes the poem. Or something like that. There are, of course, other possibilities. But it is all metaphysics. And who needs it? Certainly not poetics. In the second section, “Translation”, Constantine tackles a subject he knows well from personal experience. He is a scholar of German literature and has translated Goethe, Kleist, Hölderlin and Brecht. He suggests there are two basic approaches to translation: “mimesis” and “metaphor”. The former aims to reproduce the foreign text, the way it works, as exactly as possible. The latter goes for “functional equivalence” which captures the feeling, the ebb and flow of the poem. Some translators would argue this classification is too simple but Constantine's dichotomy does alert the reader to the basic challenge: track the language (and form) or target the feeling. Constantine prefers the feeling. That is, he opts for “metaphor” or “functional equivalence” in his translations. Nonetheless, he recognizes and is fair to the other approach as typified by translations by Michael Hamburger who expressly endorses mimesis. Constantine uses Hamburger's work to make some important points about the need for a translator to “understand” the original poem and to “serve” the foreign text. He also provides a translation exercise – a poem by Hölderlin – which allows him both to promote a favourite poet and to illustrate the difficulties of translation even from a proximate language, as German is to English. Overall, the section on translation works well. It would have been helpful if Constantine had spoken about translations between more distant languages such as English and Japanese. As it is, he has focused on what he knows best and neatly analyzed the thankless task of translation. The trouble begins with section three: “The Good of It”. And it continues in the final two sections: “The Office of Poetry” and “The Common Good”. It is here that Constantine grinds his axe in earnest. He is unhappy with the social, political and economic realities of the United Kingdom. And he argues poetry can and should do something about it. The argument is strained and, at times, his statements are beyond strange. The third section starts well with a quote from Jeanette Winterson: “A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is”. People who don't recognize that fact “have had things pretty easy”. Those are fighting words. The philistines are pampered wimps. Don't let them get you down. But he does. Constantine talks about poetry giving pleasure, exercising and opening the mind. These are all good points. He cites Schiller and Brecht to support the idea that self-definition by opposition is diminishing: it “will stunt our humanity”. Another good point. But he repeatedly gets drawn into the idea that poetry's purpose is to facilitate political and social change which somehow will eliminate “unfreedom” and enable everyone to lead full, instead of “partial” lives. This is dangerous ground. Constantine talks, over and over again, about people living “partial” lives. Even poets “however large and universal their achievement, live as they manage to live in the real circumstances of particular time and place; which is to say they perforce live partially”. What can this possibly mean? There is no ideal life against which all else is “partial”. Reality is what we have and we live our full life in it. Can we choose to live differently from how we are living today? Yes, we can. Are we limited in that choice? Of course we are. We are not gods or super heroes or mythical beings who can ignore the laws of space and time or the contingencies of being human. So what? That does not make any life “partial”. It makes it “particular”. And that is what poetry is all about. That is what poetry shows us. Indeed, that is the great gift of poetry: seeing the particular more clearly for what it is. Constantine's suggestion that there is a “whole” life out there waiting to be lived – if only politics or social circumstances were different – is both distracting and diminishing. It distracts us from our actual lives to some unreal, undefined “greater humanity”. Instead of bringing clarity through the particular, Constantine muddles things by his insistence on some vague, amorphous, unachievable ideal: the “whole life”, the “truly human”. There can be no doubt that individual lives, as well as social and political structures, can be improved. But Constantine's talk of “whole” and “partial” lives shines no light on these matter and is not helpful. It is a confusion. A distraction. The notion of a “whole” life also diminishes us: we are too little. We are crippled. We are impaired. But wait, suggests Constantine. There is a solution: politics. If only we can change this or that in the political system, if only we can gain power, displace the other party, put our program in place, then all will be well. We will be able to become whole. We will become truly human. The world of “if only” is an ugly place. It has been visited by too many societies too often in the past and the results are well known. Too many demagogues have learned how to use the fantasy of “if only” to manipulate people, gain power and turn life from bad to worse. It is dangerous to help them tell their tales. Claiming a salvific role for poetry is not asking too much: it is misguided. Poetry, at its best, brings clarity to what is seen or felt or thought obscurely. It shows. It does not tell. And, consequently, different readers will take different sustenance from each poem they read. Individuals differ. For example, some love risk. Others hate it. And that specific difference has huge implications for their approach to life, politics and society. It also has implications for what they will draw from a poem. Constantine seems either not to know this fact or to be unwilling to accept it as a fact. He wants everyone the same, politically at least. He wants his side to win. And he thinks it is poetry's task to help him win. On that last point he is wrong. Constantine is not malicious. He wants to think of poetry as being more. He sees things he doesn't like in his society and he wants them to change. He wants to think poetry can change them. It can't. At its best, poetry can enliven people. What they then do depends on who they are. Despite its oddities – including a very peculiar discussion of women and poetry in the final section – this is an interesting book. Poetry runs through it. Unfortunately, there is also a steady flow of political anger that muddies the discussion of what poetry is and does and can do. The resulting confusion is not helpful to politics or to poetry.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Taylor

    Every writer has the right to grind an axe or hone a dagger, blunt a cudgel or fire a brick, roll a stone or call out names at the people walking in the street below. Accuse, rant, grumble or complain. Whatever. But in a book intended to show that poetry matters, David Constantine says some very odd things. He begins slowly. In the first section, “The Writing and Reading of Poetry”, Constantine bemoans what he sees as the falling status of literature then moves on to talk about what d Every writer has the right to grind an axe or hone a dagger, blunt a cudgel or fire a brick, roll a stone or call out names at the people walking in the street below. Accuse, rant, grumble or complain. Whatever. But in a book intended to show that poetry matters, David Constantine says some very odd things. He begins slowly. In the first section, “The Writing and Reading of Poetry”, Constantine bemoans what he sees as the falling status of literature then moves on to talk about what distinguishes poetry from ordinary speech. He suggests that poetry “signals its strangeness” by form, metre, rhythm, word order and other devices which say to the reader: pay attention. He argues that poetry is “knowledge in the making”, a form of realization whereby the inchoate is given form via the particular: a “local habitation”. The writing of poetry embodies that realization process, as does the reading. Grounded in the particular, the poem enables a clarity of private truth to resonate with common experience. The reader understands not just the particularity of the poem but its illumination of general thoughts, experiences and feelings. The “other” becomes understandable as akin; and yet remains fully particular and other. So far, so good. Constantine is talking about poetry at its best. And he is providing one view of the writing and reading process. Individuals differ. As do poems and their writing and reading. But, by and large, what he says makes sense. One notable exception is an odd discussion about the writing process as an exercise in poetic archaeology. Constantine quotes Robert Graves who suggests: “A true poem is best regarded as already existing before it has been composed: with composition as the act of deducing its entirety from a single key phrase.” The poem is out there, somewhere, waiting to be found, recorded and revealed to the public. This is high altitude thinking, quasi-platonic in tone. One can only wonder whether the poem pre-exists the existence of the poet or if the poem comes into pre-existence when the poet is born: a simultaneous bipartite ontological event which enables the now pre-existent poem to become an existent poem once the actual existent pre-poet becomes a real poet and writes the poem. Or something like that. There are, of course, other possibilities. But it is all metaphysics. And who needs it? Certainly not poetics. In the second section, “Translation”, Constantine tackles a subject he knows well from personal experience. He is a scholar of German literature and has translated Goethe, Kleist, Hölderlin and Brecht. He suggests there are two basic approaches to translation: “mimesis” and “metaphor”. The former aims to reproduce the foreign text, the way it works, as exactly as possible. The latter goes for “functional equivalence” which captures the feeling, the ebb and flow of the poem. Some translators would argue this classification is too simple but Constantine's dichotomy does alert the reader to the basic challenge: track the language (and form) or target the feeling. Constantine prefers the feeling. That is, he opts for “metaphor” or “functional equivalence” in his translations. Nonetheless, he recognizes and is fair to the other approach as typified by translations by Michael Hamburger who expressly endorses mimesis. Constantine uses Hamburger's work to make some important points about the need for a translator to “understand” the original poem and to “serve” the foreign text. He also provides a translation exercise – a poem by Hölderlin – which allows him both to promote a favourite poet and to illustrate the difficulties of translation even from a proximate language, as German is to English. Overall, the section on translation works well. It would have been helpful if Constantine had spoken about translations between more distant languages such as English and Japanese. As it is, he has focused on what he knows best and neatly analyzed the thankless task of translation. The trouble begins with section three: “The Good of It”. And it continues in the final two sections: “The Office of Poetry” and “The Common Good”. It is here that Constantine grinds his axe in earnest. He is unhappy with the social, political and economic realities of the United Kingdom. And he argues poetry can and should do something about it. The argument is strained and, at times, his statements are beyond strange. The third section starts well with a quote from Jeanette Winterson: “A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is”. People who don't recognize that fact “have had things pretty easy”. Those are fighting words. The philistines are pampered wimps. Don't let them get you down. But he does. Constantine talks about poetry giving pleasure, exercising and opening the mind. These are all good points. He cites Schiller and Brecht to support the idea that self-definition by opposition is diminishing: it “will stunt our humanity”. Another good point. But he repeatedly gets drawn into the idea that poetry's purpose is to facilitate political and social change which somehow will eliminate “unfreedom” and enable everyone to lead full, instead of “partial” lives. This is dangerous ground. Constantine talks, over and over again, about people living “partial” lives. Even poets “however large and universal their achievement, live as they manage to live in the real circumstances of particular time and place; which is to say they perforce live partially”. What can this possibly mean? There is no ideal life against which all else is “partial”. Reality is what we have and we live our full life in it. Can we choose to live differently from how we are living today? Yes, we can. Are we limited in that choice? Of course we are. We are not gods or super heroes or mythical beings who can ignore the laws of space and time or the contingencies of being human. So what? That does not make any life “partial”. It makes it “particular”. And that is what poetry is all about. That is what poetry shows us. Indeed, that is the great gift of poetry: seeing the particular more clearly for what it is. Constantine's suggestion that there is a “whole” life out there waiting to be lived – if only politics or social circumstances were different – is both distracting and diminishing. It distracts us from our actual lives to some unreal, undefined “greater humanity”. Instead of bringing clarity through the particular, Constantine muddles things by his insistence on some vague, amorphous, unachievable ideal: the “whole life”, the “truly human”. There can be no doubt that individual lives, as well as social and political structures, can be improved. But Constantine's talk of “whole” and “partial” lives shines no light on these matter and is not helpful. It is a confusion. A distraction. The notion of a “whole” life also diminishes us: we are too little. We are crippled. We are impaired. But wait, suggests Constantine. There is a solution: politics. If only we can change this or that in the political system, if only we can gain power, displace the other party, put our program in place, then all will be well. We will be able to become whole. We will become truly human. The world of “if only” is an ugly place. It has been visited by too many societies too often in the past and the results are well known. Too many demagogues have learned how to use the fantasy of “if only” to manipulate people, gain power and turn life from bad to worse. It is dangerous to help them tell their tales. Claiming a salvific role for poetry is not asking too much: it is misguided. Poetry, at its best, brings clarity to what is seen or felt or thought obscurely. It shows. It does not tell. And, consequently, different readers will take different sustenance from each poem they read. Individuals differ. For example, some love risk. Others hate it. And that specific difference has huge implications for their approach to life, politics and society. It also has implications for what they will draw from a poem. Constantine seems either not to know this fact or to be unwilling to accept it as a fact. He wants everyone the same, politically at least. He wants his side to win. And he thinks it is poetry's task to help him win. On that last point he is wrong. Constantine is not malicious. He wants to think of poetry as being more. He sees things he doesn't like in his society and he wants them to change. He wants to think poetry can change them. It can't. At its best, poetry can enliven people. What they then do depends on who they are. Despite its oddities – including a very peculiar discussion of women and poetry in the final section – this is an interesting book. Poetry runs through it. Unfortunately, there is also a steady flow of political anger that muddies the discussion of what poetry is and does and can do. The resulting confusion is not helpful to politics or to poetry.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chandrashekar BC

    ====="ಪೊಯಟರಿ" ( ಕಾವಯ) - ಡೇವಿಡ ಕಾಂನಸಟಾಂಟಿನ ======= ಸಂಸಕೃತ ಕಾವಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಯಲಲಿ ಭಾಮಹ -"ಶಬಧಾರಥೌ ಸಹಿತೌ ಕಾವಯಂ" ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದದಾನೆ. ಅಂದರೆ ಶಬಧಾರಥ ಸಹಿತವಾದುದು ಕಾವಯ ಎಂದರಥ. ಆದರೆ ಅರಥ ಅಷಟೇ ಅಲಲ. ಕಾವಯ ಶಬಧಗಳ ನೇರ ಅರಥವನನಲಲದೆ ವಿಡಂಬನೆ, ಅಂತರಾರಥಗಳ ವಿಶೇಷಾಭಿವಯಕತಿ. ಗದಯದಕಕಿಂತ ವಿಭಿನನ ರೀತಿಯಲಲಿ ಅನುಭವನನು ಕೊಡುವ, ಯೋಚನೆಯನನು ಭಿನನ ರೀತಿಯಲಲಿ ಪರಚೋದಿಸುವ ಶಕತಿ ಕಾವಯಕಕಿದೆ. ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ ಆನಂದ ವರಧನ "ಕಾವಯಸಯಾತಮ ಧವನಿ" ಎಂದು ಕಾವಯಸವರೂಪವನನು ಸೂತರೀಕರಿಸಿದದಾನೆ. ಧವನಿಯೇ ಕಾವಯದ ಆತಮ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವಾಗ - ಕಾವಯದ ಒಳಗಿರುವ ಅರಥವನನು ಹುಡುಕಲು ಸೂಚಿಸುತತಾನೆ. ಕಾವಯಕಕೆ ಕೇವಲ ವಾಕಯಾ ====="ಪೊಯಟ್ರಿ" ( ಕಾವ್ಯ) - ಡೇವಿಡ್ ಕಾಂನ್ಸ್ಟಾಂಟಿನ್ ======= ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತ ಕಾವ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಮಹ -"ಶಬ್ಧಾರ್ಥೌ ಸಹಿತೌ ಕಾವ್ಯಂ" ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಅಂದರೆ ಶಬ್ಧಾರ್ಥ ಸಹಿತವಾದುದು ಕಾವ್ಯ ಎಂದರ್ಥ. ಆದರೆ ಅರ್ಥ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲ. ಕಾವ್ಯ ಶಬ್ಧಗಳ ನೇರ ಅರ್ಥವನ್ನಲ್ಲದೆ ವಿಡಂಬನೆ, ಅಂತರಾರ್ಥಗಳ ವಿಶೇಷಾಭಿವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ. ಗದ್ಯದಕ್ಕಿಂತ ವಿಭಿನ್ನ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುಭವನ್ನು ಕೊಡುವ, ಯೋಚನೆಯನ್ನು ಭಿನ್ನ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಚೋದಿಸುವ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಕಾವ್ಯಕ್ಕಿದೆ. ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ ಆನಂದ ವರ್ಧನ "ಕಾವ್ಯಸ್ಯಾತ್ಮ ಧ್ವನಿ" ಎಂದು ಕಾವ್ಯಸ್ವರೂಪವನ್ನು ಸೂತ್ರೀಕರಿಸಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಧ್ವನಿಯೇ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಆತ್ಮ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವಾಗ - ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಒಳಗಿರುವ ಅರ್ಥವನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಲು ಸೂಚಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಕಾವ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕೇವಲ ವಾಕ್ಯಾರ್ಥವಲ್ಲದೇ ವ್ಯಂಗಾರ್ಥವೂ (ಧ್ವನಿ) ಇರುವುದನ್ನು ಎತ್ತಿ ತೋರಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅಂದರೆ ಕವಿ ಧ್ವನಿಯನ್ನು ನೇರವಾಗಿ ಹೇಳಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ, ಪರೋಕ್ಷವಾಗಿ ಹೇಳಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ; ಹೇಳಿ ಮ್ಮುಗಿಸಿರುವುದಕ್ಕಿಂದ ಹೇಳದೆ ಬಿಟ್ಟಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಆ ಹೇಳದೇ ಬಿಟ್ಟಿರುವುದನ್ನು ಓದುಗನು ಕಲ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಅವಕಾಶ ಕಲ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಟ್ಟಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಅದನ್ನೇ ಇಲ್ಲಿ "ಧ್ವನಿ" ಎನ್ನುವುದು. ಆ ಧ್ವನಿಯನ್ನು ಕವಿತೆಯನ್ನು ಬರೆಯುವಾಗ ಕವಿ ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ಕರಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಓದುಗನೂ ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ಕರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಬಯಸುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಡೇವಿಡ್ ಕಾನ್ಸ್ಟಾಂಟಿನ್ ತಮ್ಮ ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕ "ಪೊಯಟ್ರಿ" ಯಲ್ಲಿಕೂಡ ಕವಿತೆಯ ಬೆಳವಣಿಯೆನ್ನು ಒಂದು ಸಾಕ್ಷಾತ್ಕಾರದ ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುತ್ತ, ಇಂದು ಸಮಾಜಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಅವಶ್ಯಕತೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ತಮ್ಮ ಕೃತಿಯನ್ನು ಆರಂಭಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಕವಿತೆಯನ್ನು ಬರೆರ್ಯುವಾಗ, ಆ ಕವಿತೆಯ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿ ಪ್ರಕ್ರ್‍ಇಯಯಲ್ಲೇ ಸ್ವತಃ ಕವಿ, ಕಾವ್ಯವು ಏನನ್ನು ಬೇಡುತ್ತಿದೆ? ಎಂದೂ ಕೂಡ ಮನಗಾಣುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಕವಿತೆ ತಾನು ಕಾಗದದ ಮೇಲೆ ಪೂರ್ಣಾವಾಗಿ ಮೂಡಿದ ಮೇಲೆಯೇ, ಕವಿಯೂ ಕೂಡ ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ಅದನ್ನು ಅನುಭವಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವಾಗ, ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಅನುಭವಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವುದು ಯಾವುದನ್ನು ? ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯನ್ನು ಮುಂದಿಡುತ್ತಾರೆ. "ಮೂರ್ತ ಸತ್ಯ" ವನ್ನು ಅಭಿವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಸುವುದೇ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಗುರಿ ಎಂದು ಉತ್ತರಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ ಕೂಡ. ವ್ಯಾವಾರಿಕ ಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಲವಾರು ಮುಖಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊದ್ದು ಕಾಣುವ ಸತ್ಯ, ಕವಿಯ ಕವಿತೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನ ನಿಜ ಸ್ವರೂಪವನ್ನು ಅನಾವರಣಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಸತ್ಯವನ್ನು ಅನೇಕ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಕೋನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ತೋರುವಂತೆ ಮಾಡಬೇಕಾಗಿರುವುದು ಕವಿಯ ಜವಾಬ್ದಾರಿ ಕೂಡ, ಎಂಬ ನಿಲುವನ್ನು ಅನೇಕ ಪೂರ್ವ ಕವಿಗಳ ಹೇಳಿಕೆಗಳಿಂದ ಸಮರ್ಥಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ( 'truth is concrete'). ಹಾಗೆಯೇ , "ಕಲೆಗಾಗಿ ಕಲೆ" ಎಂದು ವಿಚಾರವಂತರು "ಕಲೆ"ಯನ್ನು ತರ್ಕಿಸಿ ಮೂದಲಿಸುವಾಗ, "ನನಗಾಗಿ ಕಲೆ" ಎಂದು ಲಾರೆನ್ಸ್ ರ ವಾಖ್ಯಾನವನ್ನು ಉದ್ಧರಿಸಿ , ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಯ ಮುಗಿಯದ ಬೆಳವಣಿಗೆಗೆ, ಒಳತೋಟಿಗಳ ಅಭಿವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗೆ ಕಲೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ಅವಶ್ಯಕತೆ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಒತ್ತಿಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಮಾನವೀಯತೆ ಕರಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ಇಂದಿನ ವಾಸ್ತವದಲ್ಲಿ, ಸಮಾಜದ ಸುಪ್ತ ಮನಸ್ಸನ್ನು ಪ್ರಶ್ನಿಸುವಂತೆ, ಅಲೋಚಿಸುವಂತೆ, ಮಾನವೀಯತೆಯನ್ನು ಪುನರುಜ್ಜೀವಿಸುವಂತೆ ಪ್ರಭಾವಬೀರುವಲ್ಲಿ, ಜನಜೀವನದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಪಾತ್ರ ಬಹುಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿದೆ; ಅದಕ್ಕಾಗಿಯೆ ಇಂದು ಕಾವ್ಯ ಸಾವು, ನೋವು, ವಂಚನೆ, ನಿಷ್ಠತೆ, ಪ್ರ್‍ಏಮ, ದ್ವೇಶ, ವಾತ್ಸಲ್ಯ, ಅಸಹಾಯಕತೆ, ರಾಜಕೀಯ, ಮಾನಸಿಕ, ಅಧ್ಯಾತ್ಮಿಕ, ಸರ್ವೋದಯ, ಸಮನ್ವತೆ, ಲೋಕ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣ, ಯುದ್ಧ, ಪ್ರಕೃತಿ ವಿಕೋಪ ಇನ್ನೂ ಅನೇಕಾನೇಕ ವಿಷಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ, ಅಷ್ಟು ಸುಲಭವಾಗಿ ಹೊರ ಜಗತ್ತಿಗೆ ಕಾಣದ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ತನ್ನದೇ ರೀತಿಯಾಲ್ಲಿ ಅಭಿವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ, ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಅನೇಕ ಕವಿತೆಗಳು ಹೇಳುತ್ತವೆ. ಅಷ್ಟಲ್ಲದೆ, ಒಂದು ಕವಿತೆಯನ್ನು ಬರೆಯುವ ಅಥವಾ ಓದುವ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ "ಬೇರೆಯ ಬದುಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತು" ಜಗತ್ತನ್ನು ಅರಿಯಬೇಕು ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟವಾಗಿ ಸಾರುತ್ತದೆ. ಕವಿತೆ ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಬರೆದು ಅದು ಹೊರ ಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಸೇರಿದ ಮೇಲೆ, ಆ ಕವಿತೆ ಕವಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಪ್ರಪಂಚಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರುತ್ತದೆ. ಕಾಲಚಕ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನೇಕ ಬದುಕುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ತನ್ನದೇ ಆದ ಅರ್ಥವನ್ನು ಮೂಡಿಸುತ್ತ, ಅನುಭಾವವನ್ನು ನೀಡುತ್ತ ಸಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಎಂದೂ ನಿಲ್ಲದೆ !! . ಅಂದು ಕವಿಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕ ಅನುಭೂತಿಯೇ ಬೇರೆಯಿದ್ದಿರಬಹುದು, ಆದರೆ ಇಂದು ಹೊಸ ಓದುಗನಿಗೆ ಸಿಗುವ ಅನುಭೂತಿಯೆ ಬೇರೆಯಿರಬಹುದು ( "ನೀ ಹಿಂಗ ನೋಡಬೇಡ ನನ್ನ" ಎಂಬ ಬೇಂದ್ರೆಯವರ ಕವಿತೆಯಂತೆ). ಒಟ್ಟಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂದು ಕಾವ್ಯ ಬದುಕಿಗೆ ಅವಶ್ಯಕ. ಕಲೆ ಬದುಕಿಗಾಗಿ. ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿಯನ್ನು ಬೆಳೆಸುವುದಕ್ಕೆ; ವಿಚಾರಪರತಿಂದ ಸಮಾಜವನ್ನು, ಜನಮನವನ್ನು ಎಚ್ಚರಿಸುವುದಕ್ಕೆ. ಡೇವಿಡ್ ರ ಈ "ಪೊಯಟ್ರಿ" ಪುಸ್ತಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಅವಶ್ಯಕತೆಯನ್ನು ನಿರೂಪಿಸುವ ಅನೇಕ ಬರಹಗಳಿವೆ. ಮನಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ, ರಾಜಕೀಯ, ಚರಿತ್ರೆ, ಕ್ರಾಂತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರತಿಬಿಂಬಿಸುವ ಕವನಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ, ಅಂದು ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಭಾವಬೀರಿದ ಕಾವ್ಯವನ್ನು, ಸಮಾಜಸ್ಥಿತಿಯನ್ನು ಇಂದು ನಮ್ಮ ಮುಂದೆ ಪುನರ್ನಿರ್ಮಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಒಂದು ಸಮಾಜದ ಕಾವ್ಯವನ್ನು ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಸಮಾಜದ ಓದುಗರಿಗೆ ಸಿಗಬೇಕಾದರೆ, ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಬೇಕಾದ ಅನುವಾದದ ಅಗತ್ಯವನ್ನು, ರೂಪರೇಷೆಗಳನ್ನು ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಬರಿಯ ಕವಿಗಲ್ಲದೇ ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಬೇಕಾದ ಕಾವ್ಯದ ಕುರಿತು, ಕವಿತೆಯ ಜವಾಬ್ಧಾರಿಯ ಕುರಿತು, ಅದು ಹೇಗೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಇಂದಿನ ಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಹಾಯವಾಗಬಲ್ಲದು ಎಂದು ಮನಗಾಣುವಂತೆ ತಿಳಿಹೇಳುತ್ತಾರೆ.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liam Guilar

    I read this book cheering from the sidelines. Constantine writes eloquently, he advances a coherent argument, as a translator and poet his examples are taken from a different range than usual (Brecht and Holderlin play a significant part ) and the book rises to a triumphant eloquent end: 'That is why the defense of poetry entails the larger campaign for a humane habitat in which it may flourish to its heart’s content, abundantly saying the human and not Just as an answering back again I read this book cheering from the sidelines. Constantine writes eloquently, he advances a coherent argument, as a translator and poet his examples are taken from a different range than usual (Brecht and Holderlin play a significant part ) and the book rises to a triumphant eloquent end: 'That is why the defense of poetry entails the larger campaign for a humane habitat in which it may flourish to its heart’s content, abundantly saying the human and not Just as an answering back against the inhumane, but also-why not?-in celebration of a society we are glad and proud of. Is that too much to ask? Too much or not enough. We want more than mere survival , we want our due, our redress, lives fit to be looked at, and poetry will help, poetry at the heart of social life. We don’t want poetry to be read by a dwindling few but by an increasing many. We want it commonplace, companionable, always there to be turned to, in our ordinary lives, customary and working wonders, (p139).' Applause applause, the crowd goes wild, rises to its feet, and the sound of isolated clapping in an almost empty theatre echoes disconcertingly. There are generic problems which all books like this one face. The first is simple but devastating. Who is reading it? I suspect, even resent the use of the first person plural, it’s an insidious positioning technique, but who is this “we”. “A large part of my endeavor will consist in trying to persuade any who need persuading that poetry springs from and belongs in the heart of society and that it does good there.”(p3) I suspect that the only people who read books like this are people like me who want to believe them, and students whose professors or teachers want them to believe them. The people who don’t believe that poetry is important, are hardly going to shell out for a book like this, let alone read it. Or be impressed by the arguments. The kind of structural social evils he describes, are in place because of the amount of money and power people can gain in promoting and perpetuating them. The second obvious generic problem, is that the Defence of Poetry, from Sidney to thsi, seems to operate on the assumption that poetry can only be justified by claiming for it an external political or linguistic effect that is measurable in the world beyond the poem: "it does good there" (p3). If only we all read Poetry, the argument has gone on drearily for over four hundred years, the world would be a better place and language would be so much better. Such claims, from Sydney to the present day, are either wishful thinking, unsubstantiated either by external evidence or understandings of how language actually works, or built from very specific cases where context was so important, argued into a generality. Constantine tends towards the latter: a specific type of poem will have a specific type of effect on a specific type of reader which will produce a political reaction. It’s the last improbable step that justifies ‘Poetry’. Poetry. Not poems. "Poetry" in these arguments is never the sum of all poems, but an abstraction, which becomes the active subject in the sentence, (in the quote above it has intentions and a heart). People say “I don’t like Poetry” but I’ve never heard any one say “I don’t like music”. I’ve heard people say they don’t like Jazz or Rap or Wagner. But Poetry is a vagueness which can apparently cure warts and perform miracles. It can achieve things which centuries of Christianity have failed to do, if only… ‘Poetry’ bears very little relationship to the poems in the poetry journals or to the poems in highly touted single collections which litter my desk. There are numerous reasons why people don’t read poems. But claims for ‘Poetry’ load the poem with a burden very few poems can carry. As one writer put it, you have to pretend the butterfly is an elephant. And it’s obvious to everyone outside the charmed sealed acoustic of readers of books like this one, that the butterfly is just a butterfly. And pretending otherwise is a short cut to disenchantment. So finally the question goes begging. Why does ‘Poetry’ need defending? Not: what is poetry good for, or what might certain poems do, but why does this capital P poetry need defending in the way music, or prose, or visual art don’t? Instead of making claims for an implausible external usefulness for the art, perhaps it might be better to ask why the majority of people don’t read it. Never have done. But as Defences go, it's well written, cogently argued, and pulls in a fascinating range of examples.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Frank Beck

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sally

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stanley Sharpey

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Mosley

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Phelan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Quin Herron

  11. 4 out of 5

    murkuo

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jonas

  13. 5 out of 5

    Greta Villani

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terry Everett

  15. 4 out of 5

    John R

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nazlı Kırcı

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jobber

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  19. 4 out of 5

    Raven

  20. 5 out of 5

    O

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anik Dey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Smith

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Inna Kolisnyk

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gazmend Kryeziu

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joe Court

  28. 4 out of 5

    A.T Miller

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steven Rodriguez

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vamsi

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

  32. 4 out of 5

    Pedro Victori

  33. 4 out of 5

    michele piso

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