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Poets in the Round

October 27, 1985

As somewhat of a footnote to the review of Milton Bates' biography of Wallace Stevens (Book Review, Oct. 13), I would like to say that most poets of merit have more to their lives than poetry.

It is a relatively recent development that poets be considered isolated visionaries without ordinary lives and professions beside writing.

Englishman Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was unusual for his day because he was a professional poet. Even T. S. Eliot worked in a bank during his early career in this century.

Writing is an act as natural to humans as speech. Most poets develop the skill--which soon becomes a habit--because of the effort it takes to make a poem. Poetry then becomes an extension of their lives--not their whole life, as often appears to us after the poets are gone and only their poems remain.

KESHAV KAMATH

Malibu

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