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Unjustly neglected poets 
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Post Unjustly neglected poets
Writers can be neglected for any number of reasons. Sometimes they just fall out of fashion, sometimes their political views are no longer accepted. Sometimes their reputations revive, sometimes they do not. WH Auden vividly expressed the hope that, in the long run, poets would get the recognition they deserve:

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and innocent
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives:
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.


In the hope of starting a discussion, I nominate Roy Campbell as a wonderful poet who is now seldom read.


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Robert Tulip
Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:41 pm
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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
Redcraze wrote:
Roy Campbell as a wonderful poet who is now seldom read.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Campbell_(poet) - frozen out for being a South African/British right wing intellectual


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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
That's the main reason. Also he was a pugnacious fellow and personally antagonised most of the leading writers of his generation and wrote satirical poems about them. Sometimes he's a bit self-indulgent but at his best he's a poet and a half!! One example:The Zulu Girl, though written long ago, is still an effective and ominous prophecy about the future of South Africa:

When in the sun the hot red acres smoulder
Down where the sweating gang its labour plies
A girl flings down her hoe, and from her shoulder
Unslings her child tormented by the flies.

She takes him to a ring of shadow pooled
By thorn-trees: purpled with the blood of ticks,
While her sharp nails, in slow caresses ruled
Prowl through his hair with sharp electric clicks.

His sleepy mouth, plugged by the heavy nipple,
Tugs like a puppy, grunting as he feels;
Through his frail nerves her own deep languors ripple
Like a broad river sighing through its reeds.

Yet in that drowsy stream his flesh imbibes
And old unquenched, unsmotherable heat;
The curbed ferocity of beaten tribes,
The sullen dignity of their defeat.

Her body looms above him like a hill
Within whose shade a village lies at rest,
Or the first cloud so terrible and still
That bears the coming harvest in its breast.


His translations from Spanish, Portugese and French used to be praised, even by people who disliked him , but I don't know those languages well enough for my opinion to mean anything.


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Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
A translation should be judged as dull or electric by a native speaker of the translation. Getting meaning is easy, getting feel is poetry.


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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
Yes. Since Campbell lived for years in Spain and Portugal he spoke the languages colloquially.


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Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:31 pm
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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
Anyone else like Dorothy Parker poems? She's often funny and sad at the same time. Works for me.


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Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:50 am
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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
In terms of a reading public, just about any poet can be called unjustly neglected. Maybe Witlitlou is talking about neglect by academics and critics, a very small circle.

Billy Collins might be the closest thing to a popular poet around today. I don't find his stuff compelling, what I've read of it. But I can't claim to be taking the pulse of contemporary poetry, so can't say anything about who is being neglected. The only poetry I've read much in the past year is Philip Larkin's collected poems. I can't imagine there's a better post-war poet.

For me, the "best" poetry has some formalism, and that quality is missing in most contemporary poetry. The Roy Campbell example doesn't follow that trend, so I might like him.



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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
DWill wrote:
In terms of a reading public, just about any poet can be called unjustly neglected. Maybe Witlitlou is talking about neglect by academics and critics, a very small circle.

For me, the "best" poetry has some formalism, and that quality is missing in most contemporary poetry. The Roy Campbell example doesn't follow that trend, so I might like him.



Contemporary poetry is beyond me. Maybe I miss the subtlety, but mostly I think the Emperor has new clothes.


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Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:39 am
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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
Litwitlou wrote:
DWill wrote:
In terms of a reading public, just about any poet can be called unjustly neglected. Maybe Witlitlou is talking about neglect by academics and critics, a very small circle.

For me, the "best" poetry has some formalism, and that quality is missing in most contemporary poetry. The Roy Campbell example doesn't follow that trend, so I might like him.



Contemporary poetry is beyond me. Maybe I miss the subtlety, but mostly I think the Emperor has new clothes.

Do you think there is any parallel between modern art and poetry here, as far as the emperor being clothed or not?



Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:18 am
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Post Re: Unjustly neglected poets
DWill wrote:
Litwitlou wrote:
DWill wrote:
In terms of a reading public, just about any poet can be called unjustly neglected. Maybe Witlitlou is talking about neglect by academics and critics, a very small circle.

For me, the "best" poetry has some formalism, and that quality is missing in most contemporary poetry. The Roy Campbell example doesn't follow that trend, so I might like him.



Contemporary poetry is beyond me. Maybe I miss the subtlety, but mostly I think the Emperor has new clothes.

Do you think there is any parallel between modern art and poetry here, as far as the emperor being clothed or not?


Not exactly sure how to compare physical art to poetry, but there is some contemporary art I can appreciate whereas, hard as I try, modern poetry eludes me. Much of it reads like prose with line breaks inserted to make it look like a poem. And some contemporary poems, I'm not sure if I'm qualified to say this because I've seen some of these poems lauded in books, but some are just bad. I read them and think, "Wow, that's so bad I can't call it a poem." Dr. Seuss writes better poetry than some of the contemporary stuff I've read.

As to art, recently in the news we've seen the fearless little bronze girl statue facing off against the Wall St Bull. I like her.

Eleven years ago I saw the 7,500 "Gates" installed in Central Park by Christo. Many people say they're orange but to me they were more saffron. I thought they were just wonderful. I live ten miles from Times Square and I've seen some spectacular works in Manhattan. Many events were free, including the unforgettable Paul Simon concert on the Great Meadow. So I'm happier with the art than the contemporary poetry although although poetry is my favorite form of art, if that makes any sense.


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Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:06 am
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