It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

Being poetical

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Lawrence Durrell’s poetry doesn’t always work for me. I like the fact there’s plenty to unpack in them, though many of the references are often unfamiliar to me. Their chief attraction for me is the beauty of the language Durrell used. He had a knack of painting an image with just the right words. Here are a few examples from Selected Poems (1956):

Ten speechless knuckles lie along a knee
Among their veins, gone crooked over voyages,

‘A Rhodian Captain’

On charts they fall like lace,
Islands consuming in a sea
Born dense with its own blue:

‘Delos’

Where minarets have twisted up like sugar
And a river, curdled with blond ice, drives on

‘Sarajevo’

There is a metaphysical and mythological aspect to much of Durrell’s poetry – while he saw what was there with a painterly eye, he also described what could not be seen. And as a result his poetical portraits of places, and people, feel complete in a way many other poets have not managed. Durrell called this his “Heraldic Universe”: “that territory of experience in which the symbol exists … for every object in the known world there exists an ideogram”. He also said, “‘Art’ then is only the smoked glass through which we can look at the dangerous sun.” I like the sound of that.

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2 thoughts on “Being poetical

  1. “Set free to float on lagging webs” Niki

  2. Pingback: 30 words on 30 books « It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

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