the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

gluck on myth vs mythic

Posted by rigorousm on November 20, 2014

Nor does deep familiarity with its design suggest that the poem has tapped into myth: myth is not formula. Such poems substitute the adjective for the noun; they offer the world draped in mythic reference. But in their willfulness, they lack myth’s fatedness, myth’s helpless encounter with the elemental. Instead, everything has been invested in conclusion, in axiom, in heroic grandeur.  Poetic intelligence lacks, I think, such focused investment in conclusion, being naturally wary of its own assumptions. It derives its energy from a willingness to discard conclusion in the face of evidence, its willingness, in fact, to discard anything.

– Louise Gluck, “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence,” Proofs and Theories: essays on poetry, p 74.

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