Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A diversion: CAS on the appreciation of poetry

I came across this interesting passage in a letter from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) to George Haas*:

As to poetry in general, I think that one usually has to cultivate, through more or less reading, an appreciation of its nuances and finer values.  And many readers never do develop such appreciation, stopping at the surface-thought or reducible idea-content - which is often the least of it.  The real magic is another thing - and often too elusive for definition in crude prose. 

I think this quotation is worth some consideration, since it presents the reader with the challenge of digging a little deeper and being a bit more thoughtful when interpreting poetry.  I'll keep that in mind as I continue my journey through the poems of CAS.

*Smith, Clark Ashton. "To George Haas." 1 Feb. 1954. Selected Letters of Clark Ashton Smith. Ed. David E. Schultz and Scott Connors. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 2003. 375.

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