Monday, March 25, 2013

Kenner on the difference between Pound and Yeats

Hugh Kenner, A Colder Eye p164:

Writing of Yeats;  “Lost in his dream of rural Ireland and Faeries he’d misjudged grey Dublin’s theatre goers. It was in the vicinity of the theatre now that day by day he could see what little effect his work was having. The man of print can believe, as did Pound for decades, in an ideal readership however small or scattered, a saving remnant to command a might y posterity. The man of the play house knew differently.”

Is that what saved Yeats the poet: his daily dose of disappointment?  “Willie Yeats” facing the jeers and indifference of The Abbey audiences,  the senator butting against the realities of a brutal politics, left no room for the man who dreamed of fairies. Does it go someway to explain the later style and the resolute durability of some of those poems? 

As Bunting said, Eliot and Pound made the mistake of thinking people lived in libraries: it was a mistake the later Yeats never made. 

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