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This item is taken from PN Review 74, Volume 16 Number 6, July - August 1990.

Letters
Dear Sirs,

I have read Les A. Murray's essay Poemes and The Mystery of Embodiment in PN Review Vol 16 no 4 with differing interests. I think it represents, in his terms, Narrowspeak attempting to describe Wholespeak. The degrees of success, then, are only varyingly acceptable. His decriptions of the poem's roles are also misleading. Hitler's poem, Buddha's poem' etc, from a former essay, and the Southern Mountains stockman's image, from the essay in question, are only confusions of what is, after all, a very serious affair. Years ago, and perhaps even now, it would have been fashionably appropriate to speak of Hitler's trip, or Buddha's trip etc, and the Southern Mountains stockman's fostering of his own image is nothing more than a belief in elan. This concensus that poetry, or the poem, is something other than what it is, is a defeatist, and, I think, an entirely modern, meaning timely, confusion. It is also one which should herald its own death.On the better level it produces essays like Les A. Murray's, but at its most superficial can result in the debased poetries and carnival activities practised by some minor literary events. I would think Les A. Murray's essay even better if it were able to fashion a term more generative than poeme. Poetry, and the poem, only generate their own interest. Mistakenly, or objectionable, Les A. Murray, along with others, must feel that he/they have to divert it. Unfortunately, the habit, or opinion, might prove to prosper - but not in those areas that choose to give it some thought.
Yours,
Paul Green

This item is taken from PN Review 74, Volume 16 Number 6, July - August 1990.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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