I have spent the afternoon reading the beginning of Yvor Winters ‘The Function of Criticism’ which I acquired about 30 years ago.
I also read a couple of interesting articles online.
The first by the poet David Yezzi is interesting and makes a case for his continuing relevance. The second is a wider career over-view from the now defunct Contemporary Poetry Review.
I also mused upon the slow demise of the ‘Poet-Critic’ a sad reflection of the sorry state of contemporary poetry where popularity and social media profiles count for more than intellectual rigor. Even with Larkin, Heaney and Hughes there were solid publications of other writing. Can one imagine a serious book of Simon Armitage or Helen Mort criticism ..no because it too dangerous an occupation in the ‘blow-back’ noughties where any -expression of opinion is frowned upon. Books are reviewed but mostly to further mediocre careerist blogs but serious criticism that gone the way of decent classical music radio i.e. popularised out of existence.
So reading the opinionated Winters is refreshing. He was wrong as much as right but at least he expressed an opinion.
Talking of opinionated tody I also picked up this Further Requirements book by Larkin to add to Required Writing which again I had for over thirty years. I wonder how long before Larkin is ‘Decolonized’ from the local university stacks which considering his lifetime devotion to maintaining library collections is beyond sad.