In Black and Gold: Contiguous Traditions in Post-war British and Irish Poetry

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C. C. Barfoot
Rodopi, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 331 pages
In Black and Gold indicates that opposed styles of poetry reveal subterranean correspondences that occasionally meet and run together. Austerity or tomfoolery are two of the many valid responses to the human condition that create the contiguous traditions that cannot help touching and reacting to each other. The poetry discussed in this book deals with the relation of individuals to strange or to familiar landscapes, and what this means to their own sense of displacement or rootedness; with the use of history as an escape from or as a challenge to an apparently failing present; and with the role of nationalism either as a refuge for angry frustration, or as a weapon against the affronting world, or as an ambivalent loyalty that needs to be scoured, or as all three. Here we find poetry as a means of discovering true or false allegiances and valid or invalid public and private identities; poetry as a medium for exploring the uses of the demotic in confronting the breakdowns and injustices of modern democracy; poetry as play in the midst of private and public woe; poetry as a spiritual quest, as a spiritual scourging, as a wrestling with spiritual absences; and poetry as an intermittent and sporadic commemoration of the triumphs and delights of epiphanic encounters with the physical world.

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Contents

An Introduction
7
Jeremy Hooker
22
David Gervais
45
Kathleen OGorman
67
Paul Moeyes
95
David Punter
119
John Goodby
137
Designing the Landscape
169
Julian Cowley
179
Dennis ODriscoll
199
Ingrid HotzDavies
219
David Wilkinson
235
E M Knottenbelt
255
Some Few Things I Have Known Truly Up to Now
277
The Poets Voice and Poetic Craft
303
Copyright

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Page 61 - O joy ! that in our embers Is something that doth live, That nature yet remembers What was so fugitive...
Page 14 - If one had briefly to distinguish this poetry of the fifties from its predecessors, I believe the most important general point would be that it submits to no great systems of theoretical constructs nor agglomerations of unconscious commands. It is free from both mystical and logical compulsions and — like modern philosophy — is empirical in its attitude to all that comes.
Page 326 - Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
Page 32 - To carry on the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood; to combine the child's sense of wonder and novelty with the appearances, which every day for perhaps forty years had rendered familiar; With sun and moon and stars throughout the year, And man and woman; this is the character and privilege of genius, and one of the marks which distinguish genius from talents.
Page 113 - The horror of the effortless journey, to the empty land Which is no land, only emptiness, absence, the Void, Where those who were men can no longer turn the mind To distraction, delusion, escape into dream, pretence, Where the soul is no longer deceived, for there are no objects, no tones, No colours, no forms to distract, to divert the soul From seeing itself, foully united forever, nothing with nothing, Not what we call death, but what beyond death is not death, We fear, we fear.
Page 182 - In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself...
Page 96 - We can only say that it appears likely that poets in our civilization, as it exists at present, must be difficult. Our civilization comprehends great variety and complexity, and this variety and complexity, playing upon a refined sensibility, must produce various and complex results.
Page 116 - And immediately Rather than words comes the thought of high windows: The sun-comprehending glass, And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.
Page 48 - Autumn resumes the land, ruffles the woods with smoky wings, entangles them. Trees shine out from their leaves, rocks mildew to moss-green; the avenues are spread with brittle floods. Platonic England, house of solitudes, rests in its laurels and its injured stone, replete with complex fortunes that are gone, beset by dynasties of moods and clouds.

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