There Must Be Truth

The sadness I feel reading the work of the newest poets stems from a longing, not that they should try something different, but that they should cease to try.  For the newest poets seem to me the most faithless lot.  Each poem says the same thing: there is no truth.  God forbid a man decline to accept this idea before it be proved!  It is the critic’s duty to believe where the newest poets have ceased to believe.  The critic must, therefore, rely on faith.   But hope, which is the totem of the newest poets and – as Eliot reminds us – is always hope for the wrong thing, the critic must do without.  There is no hope for the critic or the poet, but there must be truth otherwise both poet and critic are as useless as they, always ironically, claim to be.  The sadness I need to feel isn’t the longing of an unrequited lover, one abandoned at the station, but of the lover whose object is feckless and fails to make good on even the most superficial promises though still he loves.

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