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Mina Loy – Prose bewitched

October 10, 2014

“Poetry is prose bewitched, a music made of visual thoughts, the sound of an idea. …

And why has the collective spirit of the modern world, of which both are the reflection, recognized itself unanimously in the new music of unprecedented instruments, and so rarely in the new poetry of unprecedented verse? It is because the sound of music capturing our involuntary attention is so easy to get in touch with, while the silent sound of poetry requires our voluntary attention to obliterate the cold barrier of print with the whole ‘intelligence of our senses.’ And many of us who have no habit of reading not alone with the eye but also with the ear, have – especially at a superficial first reading – overlooked the beauty of it. …

All reading is the evocation of speech; the difference in our approach, then, in reading a poem or a newspaper is that our attitude in reading a poem must be rather that of listening to and looking at a pictured song. …

The structure of all poetry is the movement that an active individuality makes in expressing itself. Poetic rhythm, of which we have all spoken so much, is the chart of a temperament. …

It will be found that one can recognize each of the modern poets’ work by the gait of their mentality.”

(from ‘Modern Poetry'[1925], in The Lost Luna Baedeker)

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