The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedEdwin Muir
Title QuotedEstate of Poetry
Date (Year/Month/Day)1966/07/31
ImprintCambridge MA : Harvard University Press. 1962
QuotationI like Edwin Muir's Norton lectures on poetry - very good one on Yeats, and a lot of sense in his lecture on literary critics. Against the professional critic who considers himself a kind of orchid which the tree of poetry exists to sustain. (Northrop Frye has a whole doctrine of the critic as the man who is needed to perfect the poetic experience - he is essential to poetry!) E. Muir - the traditional public is essential. The critics = the critic is essential. Critic is now the poet's public. Poetry tends to sterility and irrelevance in proportion as the poet addresses himself to the critic rather than to the public... Are people like Camus and Muir the true monks of our day? Is monasticism to be really found in an external commitment to certain formal sacrifice and an institutional and ritual life or in the kind of solitude, integrity, commitment that Camus had - or the fidelity to vision that was Muir's?
JournalLearning to love: exploring solitude and freedom. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 6, 1966-1967.; Edited by Christine M. Bochen. / [San Francisco] : HarperCollins. 1997, p. 107-08
Link to Merton's Copy