April 23, 2009

From an overclothed blindness to a naked vision

Read this in the the write-up for the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, in The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemparary Poetry (vol 2)*
Dylan Thomas...
.. liked to speak of his poems as narratives, as in his reply to a questionnaire in 1934: "Poetry is the rhythmic, inevitably narrative, moment from an overclothed blindness to a naked vision that depends in its intensity on the strength of the labor put into the creation of the poetry. My poetry is, or should be, useful to me for one reason: it is the record of my individual struggle from darkness towards some measure of light."
Emphasis mine, to highlight the beautiful words that capture the essence of poetry.
Later in the write-up, this quote from Dylan Thomas:
"I make one image, though "make" is not the right word; I let, perhaps, an image be made emotionally in me and then apply to it what intellectual and critical forces I possess -- let it breed another; let that image contradict the first, make, of the third image bred out of the other two, a fourth contradictory image, and let them all, within my imposed formal limits, conflict. Each image holds within it the seed of its own destruction, and my dialectical method, as I understand it, is a constant building up and breaking down of the images that come out of the central seed, which is itself destructive and constructive at the same time . . . The life in any poem of mine cannot move concentrically round a central image, the life must come out of the center; an image must be born and die in another; and any sequence of my images must be a sequence of creations, recreations, destructions, contradictions . . . Out of the inevitable conflict of images . . . I try to make that momentary peace which is a poem."

* This two volume set is precious. I'm reading a library copy (for the second time in my life - had read it 3-4 years back once). Some day I need to buy it - $37.50 for the 2 volume set is not that expensive, given how much treasure is in here!

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