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For Teachers of Poetry

This is one of those quote-within-a-quote-within-a-quote things that happen in blogs.

Litlove, in a post for the Sunday Salon is writing about reading Rilke's Duino Elegies.

This post on its own is worth reading, as she captures vividly the ecstacy of reading Rilke (and I have lidocafe to thank that I am now in the company of those who share that ecstacy).

But I particularly loved this quote from the critic William Gass, writing about Rilke:

The poet, while composing, struggles to rule a nation of greedy self-serving malcontents; every idea, however tangential to the main theme it may have been initially, wants to submerge the central subject beneath its fructifying self as though each drizzle were scheming a forty-days rain; every jig and trot desires to be the whole dance; every la-di-da and line length, image, order, rhyme, variation and refrain, every well-mouthed vowel, dental click, silent design, represents a corporation, cartel, union, well-heeled lobby, a Pentagon or NRA, eager to turn the law towards its interests; every word wants to enjoy a potency so supreme it will emasculate the others.


That is why I read. That is why I teach.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
tree_and_leaf
Nov. 19th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link! I adore Rilke, and the whole post is very interesting. And the quote is dead right...
asakiyume
Nov. 19th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)
That's a marvelous quote. The pleasure William Glass must have had writing it--and the pleasure of the thought he's conveying--elicit an answering pleasure in the reader! I was laughing :-)
wordweaverlynn
Nov. 20th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
Rilke is one of my favorites. I first heard of him through Roger Zelazny's lovely A Rose for Ecclesiastes, which I first read when I was 13 or so. That sent me haring off looking for the poems, and I fell in love.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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