Wednesday, March 31, 2004

At poet4democracy, Tim asked:
What do you think about the fact that all great poetry in the twentieth-century, written in English, was lyric, Mr. Eliot's ventriloquism not excepted?
I have two answers. One is Savitri.
The other is that, following Jean Gebser, I believe that civilizations go through stages. It is likely that certain poetic genres are more appropriate to the genius of each stage than other genres. Cultures at the mythic stage seem to excel at epic (The Torah, Gilgamesh, Homer, Virgil, Dante, Milton). Cultures at the rational stage favor scientific and philosophical treatises (Locke, Hobbes, Hume, Darwin). Cultures at the relativistic stage favor lyric poetry (Wordsworth, et al) and the novel. Cultures at the integral stage seem to prefer hyperlinked, interwoven, sphere-shaped screed-communities like the one you are reading.

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