Another note on TS Eliot

His phrase “mature artists steal”…

I was thinking that “a mature artist” understands not just the life of other poets’ poems, but the life of their own poem (so I suppose in e.g. doggerel there is no composed energy to understand), an order or control the mature poet can critically engage, when busy with acts of writing, to other works of art, and that this is theft, not imitative (which always seems humorous whenever I try to act on), because every word, phrase and line has hermetic use (you can fill that in with theory easily), is stolen from its author. This is actually meant as a how to on relating reading to writing: ‘control over expression’ is the key unit of creativity in so called “mature work” (Pam Ayres or not). So, locate that and (with whatever depth you can manage) don’t let go, because imitative verse, like a well told joke, is naturally disappointing.

How does that link to ‘paralysis of language’? I would reckon it’s key to work what is repulsive into a therapy for others, and that this can be done by finding creative maturity not in, e.g., spontaneity and confession, but your own individual repetitions, rhythms (stress being the most basic element). So, opposing ‘language’ to a grotesque variation of original etc. ideas.

How does that link to any claim that a poem cannot name itself? Maybe a grotesque variation of an original idea is, by necessity, formally bivalent, double, in any mature work.


A halo joins humanity in syrupy

peace. Bless Unity for 

an English weather “crickets sing” 

“hedge crickets sing”,

but in interior lark move 

elegant pliant path.