I’ve just written an article for the Magma Newsletter, titled ‘Which Poets Do You Give the Benefit of the Doubt?’.
The premise is that when we read a poem, our response is mediated by what – if anything – we already know about the poet. So if we encounter a ‘difficult’ poem, then it makes a big difference whether it’s by T.S. Eliot (in which case, we may well give it benefit of the doubt and re-read it to try to penetrate the mystery) or A.N. Other (in which case, we’re much more likely to dismiss it as gibberish).
The article will only appear in the Magma Newsletter, and will come out next week – so if you want to read it, you’ll need to subscribe to the newsletter this week. Which is a smart move anyway, as there’s invariably good stuff in it.