A Note from PWF

Musing on Poetry

An important poet once said that poetry is not the most important thing in life. He sounds convincing. There are so many people in the world who have never read a poem in their lives, let alone writing. But those people are living happily and making other people happy. People can live happily and peacefully without having anything to do with poetry. If this be the real situation, is there any point in saying that the poets are at the finest point of awareness of time?

What is the duty of a poet—to amuse and entertain? Who will read a poet if he or she cannot give pleasure? Is pleasure a pleasure or there is qualitative difference between one pleasure and another? Can the pleasure a farmer derives from raising a crop be inferior to the pleasure of reading or writing a poem?

Coleridge called poetry the best words in the best order. How do we know which is the best order and which words are the best? Does an order pre-exist the poem? Does the poet-critic mean unexpectedness, surprise and pleasure derived from novelty in collocation?

Nothing is certain in the field of poetry. Nobody is certain whether it is spontaneous overflow or an escape from emotion or balancing of opposed appetencies. The number of verse practitioners is very large and success rate is very low. And yet a large number of people, and especially young ones, engage their imagination and intellect in writing poetry.