February 21, 2005

praise and respect to those old guys

Taken from T.S. Eliot: "No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that he shall conform, that he shall cohere, is not onesided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them."

I couldn't have said this better myself. I can relate this to my family. I would be nothing without the Italian/Slovak heritage of my father and the Irish/German/English/Russian-Jew heritage of my mother. When I was born another branch on my family tree grew. The same happened when my four sister and my brother were born. The same when my thirty-one cousins were born. Each of us was like a new work of art, solidifying what my ancestors believed to be true and good. I know that when they look at my family and the way we have grown they smile at the beauty of what they began so many years ago.

"Rules derived from the practice of the ancient poets, 88-110. "
"Reverence due to the ancients, and praise of them, 181 ff. "
These two quotes are from Alexander Pope's outline of Essay on Criticism
I am no good at reading into poetry unless it is from a children's poetry book. Haha. No seriously. I do know that the Pope was outlining an essay on criticizing poetry and that he listed some causes that would hinder a critic's judgement, as well as a conduct code for critics, more or less. However, this is the extent of my knowledge.

The two quotes previously mentioned stuck out to me because I read this after the piece by T.S. Eliott. Referring to the story I told about my family, I feel the first quote is applicable in that rules of the family derived from the patriarch and matriarch of the family, adjusted as they were passed along. I know the quote is speaking of ancient poets' rules being acknowledged and used by present poets, but I think it applies to the situation of family life.

The second quote talks about having reverence for the ancient poets and respecting them for their accomplishments. I feel that this to holds true to the idea of the family tree. Had it not been for founding fathers or great(x100's) grandparents, we would not exist. I think that a great amount of respect should be paid to those ancient peoples. Their courage and love for what they were doing is highly respectable and should be commended.

After all, where would we be today without our ancient poets?

Posted by MelissaTrecaso at February 21, 2005 10:33 PM

I agree completely with you! They were very involved with their work, and if it were not for them, we would not be where we are today.

Posted by: Anne at February 21, 2005 11:14 PM

My students writing poems "from the heart"
Complain sometimes they cannot bear to read
The older stuff I make them analyze.
As Eliot observed, great poetry
Is more than momentary passion jotted down.
It's work -- requiring knowledge, skill, and time.

Our modern worship of the new and bold
Can mask the value of tradition's ways.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 22, 2005 12:01 AM