[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 105, Issue 7_Prose poems and poetry

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Fri Jan 8 21:08:06 PST 2016


Prose poems!

Was Durrell ever regarded as a major poet of his generation? And is his
poetry not stimulated very frequently by the Levant - if I may use that
single term in this context? He was once regarded as a major novelist, but
his high reputation faded away, and did that affect his reputation as a
poet?

Does all this have to do with English literature having become parochial
from the 1950s onwards?

My knowledge of French is negligible, but  I seem to note a keen
appreciation of Durrell's poetic prose from the French strongholds in these
posts! I recall - but with what accuracy? - a reviewer's comment on Justine
(or definitely one of the novels of The Alexandria Quartet),  which said
that Lawrence Durrell had written a good French novel! I'll try to recover
that review, but perhaps someone else can beat me to it.

I find something revelatory in the fact that I have been able to more than
half of Proust's monumental "Remembrance of Things Past" in its English
translations by Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, with greater ease
than any other comparable fictional masterpiece. I don't think that, by
itself, Proust's prose would be described as poetic, although he achieves a
extraordinary degree of minuteness in the description of landscape and
while describing psychological relationships between people at.

I have come across Mallarme's prose poems, but how widely represented is
the prose poem as a literary genre?

Sir Thomas Browne is seen as an original archetype of prose which is ornate
and described perhaps as Baroque in its quality. Thomas de Quincey and
other later writers have something of this quality. George Steiner has
extolled Lawrence Durrell's prose and structure in the novels of The
Alexandria Quartet, and described the novels as baroque.

I would go back to what might have been seen as a French quality in
Durrell's novels from the Quartet, although I am not in a position to
comment on his later novels of which I have read very little.

France is also where I believe Durrell's reputation has survived at a
higher level than it apparently has in Britain.

Sumantra
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Message: 7
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 18:28:17 +1100
From: Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au>
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Subject: Re: [ilds] Waugh Panel - Univ of Texas
Message-ID: <59FB1867-9B16-4E3D-A9A7-1E9A529D3618 at bigpond.net.au>
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Bien sur, Marc, bien sur. La prose de Lawrence Durrell est plus poetique,
mon ami, plus poetique. Avec Durrell vous obtenez une melange manifique. Je
Pense que oui.

David Vinblanc.

On 8 Jan 2016, at 12:27 PM, Marc Piel <marc at marcpiel.fr> wrote:

Surely much of his prose is pure poetry!!
Marc
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Message: 8
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 20:12:24 +1100
From: Denise Tart & David Green <dtart at bigpond.net.au>
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Subject: [ilds] Lawrence Durrell, collected poems, 1931 - 1974
Message-ID: <6A8847F4-5F94-4BE6-B56A-1A0B55A3B8BD at bigpond.net.au>
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Dusted this volume off tonight, said to myself, take a glass of Richmond
grove Chardonnay and start from the start. Hemingway talked about the true
line, those lines that really say it, lay it down well.

>From The Gift

The crumbled dust of ancient adorations, murmurings, and the dull story of
some faded lust, will you remember it and mother-wise thank me in these
chill after-days,
When I am empty handed...with your eyes?

I especially like 'and the dull story of some faded lust' - just nails it.
Bam, bam, bam!

Sometimes Lazza tries to hard, gets too full of classical allusion, but
little gems shine like sharp cut diamonds.

David

Message: 9
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 03:16:33 -0800
From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Subject: [ilds] Poetry v. Prose Poem
Message-ID: <6BF67EAD-E328-4A6B-A952-853FD7B31440 at earthlink.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Yes.  We might start with definitions.  Is poetry the same as a prose
poem?  I don't think it is, and I doubt that Durrell did either, for the
simple reason he published the two genres separately.

Bruce

Message: 10
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2016 03:38:07 -0800
From: Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
Subject: Re: [ilds] Poetry v. Prose Poem
Message-ID: <1DCF3A50-2964-495D-B964-88DAA3B523BE at earthlink.net>
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Addendum.  It's true that books like CVG contain poems, but the two genres
are kept distinct.  We know when we're reading poetry as opposed to prose.
Poetic prose is not the same as poetry, for Durrell anyway.  This seems to
me trivially true, although I wonder about a writer/poet like Anne Carson.

Bruce
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