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Introduction Shadow Mouth

  • Jed Rasula
Chapter
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Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)

Abstract

To speak in earnest about the Muse in the twenty-first century is tantamount to admitting a paradox, which is that poetry persists despite its attachment to what might seem a disabling anachronism. This is hardly an original consideration; Robert Graves made the same point fifty years ago in The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth: “I am still amused at the paradox of poetry’s obstinate continuance in the present phase of civilization” (3). Graves’ mission in The White Goddess is dedicated to a fundamentalism evident in his vocabulary:

The reason why the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls and a shiver runs down the spine when one writes or reads a true poem is that a true poem is necessarily an invocation of the White Goddess, or Muse, the Mother of All Living, the ancient power of fright and lust—the female spider or the queen-bee whose embrace is death. Housman offered a secondary test of true poetry: whether it matches a phrase of Keat’s’, “everything that reminds me of her goes through me like a spear.” (12)

Keywords

Female Spider Lyric Poetry Modern Poetics Good Poem Poetic Inspiration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Jed Rasula 2009

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  • Jed Rasula

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