Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Larkin on Poetry

Most people say that the purpose of poetry is communication: that sounds as if one could be contented simply by telling somebody whatever it is one has noticed, felt or perceived. I feel it is a kind of permanent communication better called preservation, since one's deepest impulse in writing ... is to my mind not 'I must tell everybody about that' (ie responsibility towards other people) but 'I must stop that from being forgotten if I can' (ie responsibility towards subject).

When writing a poem I am trying to construct a verbal device or machine which will, upon reading, render up the emotion I originally experienced to as many people as possible for as long as possible.

Letter to John Shakespeare, quoted in "Telegraph Review", 25/4/2009

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