IdeaThievery

In the "Introductory" section to How Does a Poem Mean? John Ciardi thanks a circle of colleagues:

In 1951 when I was teaching at Harvard, a number of friends --- all of them valued poets --- organized a small group that met irregularly to talk about the poems each brought with him. That group continued to meet for two years or so through a number of memorable evenings. The regular core of that group consisted of Richard Eberhart, John Holmes, Archibald MacLeish, Richard Wilbur, and myself. I am indebted to those meetings for some of the happiest and best poet's talk I have ever heard. I have no doubt that I have worked into this book many ideas that were touched on in those meetings, but in expressing my gratitude to these good men, I must make it clear that they are in no way responsible for what I have said here. I simply confess that I have stolen from them, and that I wish I might have stolen more. Could I be sure of exactly what I have stolen, I would acknowledge my thefts in detail. My most gratitude to them is that they are rich enough to be worth stealing from.

The sentiment applies to every one of us (esp. me!) --- we're all idea thieves, who take from local friends and from distant antiquity. The best robbers, like Ciardi, leave a little something new behind. (See BirdBrains, ^zhurnal 9 July 1999.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2001 at 05:44:51 (EDT) = Datetag20010425

TopicPoetry - TopicLiterature


(correlates: AntiBumperstickerization, LapsangSouchong, PowerDistortion, ...)