Wednesday, April 21, 2010

21 April 1898 - on Poets

Lovecraft was just beginning to fiddle with verses and writing at the age of 7 and 8. Perhaps the Providence Journal was prescient about one of its natives who would one day attempt poetry on a grand scale.

From a magazine known as Public opinion: a comprehensive summary of the press throughout, Volume 24 of 21 April 1898

Providence Journal
What shall we do with the minor poet? The question is really a pressing one Never before has he been so abundant The number of persons indeed who can turn out a workmanlike piece of verse is really surprising The magazines and even the newspapers print thousands of well written poems every year The number of minor poets has been variously estimated Mr HD Traill once recognized only fifty as actual poets But such a limitation is ridiculously low or perhaps it would be better to say that Mr Train's standard was ridiculously high Fifty names would hardly include the living minor poets of general repute even if we included in the ranks of the major such writers as Dobson Lang Gosse Aldrich Stoddard Mrs Piatt Mrs Meynell el id omne genus There must be five times fifty minor poets of lesser merit those who have written good verses and are by no means to be despised as intellectual degenerates Should these all be assailed indiscriminately Should there be any attempt to suppress them in behalf of literary purity It is doubtful if indiscriminate condemnation would be justified Perhaps the worst thing about the minor poet is his disposition to take himself too seriously Magazine verses that are pleasingly written even if they fall far short of genius do no great harm The trouble is that the minor poet once started on his career goes on writing whether he has anything to say or not He becomes clamorous and insistent He insists upon being gathered into a volume He makes a nuisance of himself to friends and acquaintances and pesters the life out of reviewers The true tragedy of the situation lies in the fact that the minor poet needs to be protected from himself

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