A bit of a rant.
I recently recommended two books of poetry to a friend
for his wife’s birthday: the new selected poems by Mark Strand
and then the poems of Wislawa Szymborska and ever since
I’ve been thinking of how Western sad sack pathetic Mark Strand is
by comparison. There’s this element in me now that says:
“Grow up Mark, be a man”.
I’m reading a biography of Robert Graves and his theme of the White Goddess
which claims that a poet, (women are apparently incapable), needs an
unobtainable La Belle Sans Merci incarnated at least temporarily in
some mortal woman to spur him in masochistic devotion to great poetry.
He seems to have actually believed and lived that with Laura Riding
who I would have shown the door in a heartbeat.
To be crude, in the West then it seems all about getting
or not getting laid . . .
Arthur Waley, though more diplomatically, commented
on this as much before most of us were born in his
contrast to Chinese poetry.