Mark Scroggins

  • culture March 09, 2011

    Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century by Marjorie Perloff

    We haven’t always put a high premium on originality in writing. Alexander Pope defined “true wit” as “Nature to advantage dress’d, / What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d”; in other words, the best poet makes memorable lines out of what everybody already knows. It was the Romantics, in the nineteenth century, who made the expression of original personal experience the highest value. They gave us the idea that the poet should say something new, and that the poem should bear the authentic stamp of its maker: (copyright) Shelley, and no one else.

    One can still be a poet of Shelleyan