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This article is taken from PN Review 107, Volume 22 Number 3, January - February 1996.

Robert Graves, Modernism and the 'Poetic Body' Patrick McGuinness

If a poet is anybody, he is somebody to whom things matter very little - somebody who is obsessed by Making. Like all obsessions, the Making obsession has disadvantages; for instance, my only interest in making money would be to make it. Fortunately, however, I should prefer to make almost anything else, including locomotives and roses. It is with roses and locomotives (not to mention acrobats Spring electricity Coney Island the 4th of July the eyes of mice and Niagara Falls) that my 'poems' are competing. They are also competing with each other, with elephants and with El Greco.
E.E. Cummings, foreword to is 5, quoted by Riding and Graves in A Survey of Modernist Poetry

I have often wondered what the term 'a poet's poet' meant. Perhaps simply a poet, like Graves, with no definable 'message', no 'unifying philosophy', no marketable gimmick […l In prose he has defined poetry as 'sense: good sense; penetrating, often heart-rending sense'.
D. J.Enright, Conspirators and Poets

In one of his Clark Lectures, given in Cambridge in the academic year 1954-5 and entitled 'These Be Your Gods, O Israel', Robert Graves takes as his subject the theme of idols and idolatry. The idols in this case are five contemporaries -Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Auden and Dylan Thomas. The idol-worshippers are the academics and scholars who would, along with students and various non-aligned readers of poetry, have been present in force among the audience he was addressing. :'The living ...


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