Yesterday I was listening to the radio and the subject was poetry. The speaker was discussing the great American poets of the nineteenth century: Poe, Longfellow, Dickinson and Whitman. He and I had the same thought: where are the great poets of the twentieth century? What happened?
In the twentieth century poetry like music became a high art. It was no longer admirable to be comprehensible by the masses. Obscurity became a requirement.
Incomprehensibility is a sign of decadence. [My words--not his.] Great poetry like great music comes from the general love for poetry. The great works are merely the peaks of a generally popular art. The great American operas of the twentieth century are Porgy and Bess and West Side Story, the works of popular composers working in their native styles.
California Symphony: Zemlinsky, A. Mahler, Rott
2 hours ago
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