Poets Walk: "I, too, dislike"

Poets Walk: "I, too, dislike"

Location: Band A-B on Poets Walk


Poetry by Marianne Moore


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.

  Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in

  it after all, a place for the genuine.

    Hands that can grasp, eyes

    that can dilate, hair that can rise

      if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are

    useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible,the

    same thing may be said for all of us -- that we

      do not admire what

      we cannot understand: the bat

        holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under

  a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base-

  ball fan, the statistician -- case after case

    could be cited did

    one wish it; nor is it valid

      to discriminate against "business documents and

school-books"; all these phenomena are important.

          One must make a distinction

  however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,

          the result is not poetry,

  nor till the autocrats among us can be

    "literalists of

    the imagination" --above

      insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads

          in them, shall we have

  it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,

          in defiance of their opinion--

    the raw material of poetry in

  all its rawness and

  that which is on the other hand

    genuine, you are interested in poetry.


Poetry, by Marianne Moore, published in 1920 by Nicholas L. Brown in "Others for 1919: An Anthology of the New Verse," edited by Alfred Kreymborg.