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This article is taken from PN Review 16, Volume 7 Number 2, November - December 1980.

Elsie Duncan-Jones
Characteristic of I. A. Richards, the author of Practical Criticism, that the first poem in his 1958 volume, Goodbye Earth, is, in his own words, 'a practical poem', teaching how to light fires in the snow. My other favourite, 'To Dumb Forgetfulness', is a poem on how to endure the decay of one's faculties. 'Forget what you forget' suggests ostensibly that loss is to be acquiesced in. But to forget what you forget is hard work, an act of will of a strenuous kind. The poem cannot be read without communicating the impulse to stretch mind and language to the full. It is a demonstration of the art of intellectual survival.
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