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How does one happen to write a poem: where does it come from? That is the question asked by the psychologists or the geneticists of poetry.
Genetic theories, I gather, have been cherished academically with detachment.
For some reason most critics have a hard time fixing their minds directly under their noses, and before they see the object that is there they use a telescope upon the horizon to see where it came from.
Experience means conflict, our natures being what they are, and conflict means drama.
Dramatic experience is not logical; it may be subdued to the kind of coherence that we indicate when we speak, in criticism, of form.
But in our age the appeal to authority is weak, and I am of my age.
At twelve I was determined to shoot only For honor; at twenty not to shoot at all; I know at thirty-three that one must shoot As often as one gets the rare chance - In killing there is more than commentary.
According to its doctors, my one intransigent desire is to have been a Confederate general, and because I could not or would not become anything else, I set up for poet and beg an to invent fictions about the personal ambitions that my society has no use for.
A poem may be an instance of morality, of social conditions, of psychological history; it may instance all its qualities, but never one of them alone, nor any two or three; never less than all.
Men expect too much, do too little.
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