May 15, 2009

From Darkness Towards Light

Was perusing through Dylan Thomas's essays Quiet Early One Morning and came across this wonderful set of Q&As (titled Replies To an Enquiry - published in New Verse, October 1934)
Q: Do you intend your poetry to be useful to yourself or others?
DT: To both. Poetry is the rhythmic, inevitably narrative, movement from an overclothed blindness to a naked vision that depends in its itnensity on the strength of the labour 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, and what of the individual struggle is still to come benefits by the sight and knowledge of the faults and fewer merits in that concrete record. My poetry is, or should be, useful to others for its individual recording of that same struggle with which they are necessarily acquainted.
and later..
Q: Have you been influenced by Freud and how do you regard him?
A: Yes. Whatever is hidden should be made naked. To be stripped of darkness is to be clean, to strip of darkness is to make clean. Poetry, recording the stripping of the individal darkness, must, inevitably, cast light upon what has been hidden for too long, and, by so doing, make clean the naked exposure. Freud cast light on a little of the darkness he had exposed. Benefiting by the sight of the light and the knowledge of the hidden nakedness, poetry must drag further into the clean nakedness of light more even of the hidden causes than Freud could realise.
Much more to savor in the book including essays titled "On Poetry", "How to be a poet", and "How to begin a story". But for now I am returning it to the library, with the hope that some day soon I will return to it.
"Poetry is not what words say but what is said between them, that which appears fleetingly in pauses and silences."  - Octavio Paz

“Poetry is not truth, it is the resurrection of presences.” - Octavio Paz

More quotes about "What is poetry" here.

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