Sad Happy

Peter blogs about Gregory Orr's This I Believe segment on NPR. Peter quotes Orr: "[E]ven the saddest poem I write is proof that I want to survive."

The This I Believe segments almost always bring out the cynic in me. Yeah, OK, I have issues. But my first thought in response to the Orr quote was to invert it:

"Even the happiest poem I write is proof that I am dying."

Cynicism aside, I like it that way, with its Zen fatalism, much better. Poetry can't be a bulwark against chaos. (Been there, tried that in the 19th century, failed miserably—see Shelley, Percy Byshe, The Triumph of Life; Eliot, T. S., The Wasteland.) It has to include that chaos in its very fiber or we're all just wrapping up in our blankies and waiting for life to go away.

N.B. I don't mean to diminish Orr's experience nor to state that his process isn't important for him. What concerns me is that this sort of statement tends to be seized upon, generalized, and turned into a Universal Truth About Poetry. It isn't and much is lost if it is taken as such.


Blogger Peter said...

Oh Ron I love the iversion. Touche!

But it really was a fine essay that Orr read for NPR. Dean and I listened over dinner, and nodded approvingly as we chewed.

22/2/06 18:43  

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