Author Archives: John Wilson Croker

The Critic Must Be Beauty

The poets sees beauty and articulates it.  The critic must be beauty.  The latter, of course, is the infinitely more difficult job.  When one disparages the poet, one curses one’s own eyes, but when the critic is the object of … Continue reading

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The Critic’s Pain

Will anyone know how painful it is to review a mediocre book of poems and to try to sound enthused?  Only the critic, genius unparalleled, understands.  He sees mere glimmers of what he’d like to see in those young men … Continue reading

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Anecdote II

It is the first disappointment the critic remembers best.  For me, the disappointment was the smallest thing, a trifle.  This is true of every other critic I have polled, too.  Perhaps a beloved dog died unexpectedly.  Or a promise his … Continue reading

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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. … Continue reading

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The Poet’s Spells

Any talk of the spiritual in poetry reveals a lack of understanding.  It is forgivable for the poet to misunderstand his work in this way, and say, for instance, that he searches for the god within or the divine spark. … Continue reading

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Anecdote I

When I was a boy, about eight or nine, I remember going to a seaside resort with my father – this was after my parents divorced – and, though it was late fall and all the shops were closed and … Continue reading

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The Poet Needs the Critic to Condescend

It is as if the poet were wooing his critic.  It is as if the poet were lost in the desert and, knowing only semaphore, must flag down rescue from an angel passing overhead.  This is the critic.  It is … Continue reading

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Poetic Material

The poet says that art holds the mirror up to nature.  So we can assume – all thinking people can assume – that anything under the sun may be appropriate poetic material.  And I agree with Thoreau who claimed that … Continue reading

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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, … Continue reading

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Audience

To whom does a poet address his work?  Perhaps the more essential question is: to whom ought a poet address his work?  The literary critic must be considered first, even in a love poem, above all others.  When the poet … Continue reading

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