Apes & Gods

If it is true, and I think it is, that a poet’s best assets are his eyes and ears, then it must also be true that a critic’s best are his tongue and finger.  Why?  Because when the critic points, at the world or the work of art, his tongue follows fast to judge.  This judgment reaches an ecstasy in the best critics.  It is more difficult, then, to be a mediocre critic than it is to be a great poet.  It is more godlike to point and utter, as if to agree with all creation, This is good, than it is to merely ape the sounds and patterns one’s sensorium takes in.  I might say that it is the critic who creates the poet’s eyes and ears, but that goes a little too far; however, it is true that the critic develops the poet’s senses, and defines and refines what one calls taste.

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