Quote of the Day
For awhile after you quit Keats all other poetry seems to be only whistling or humming.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
You know who my gods are, who I believe in fervently? Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson - she's probably the top - Mozart, Shakespeare, Keats. These are wonderful gods who have gotten me through the narrow straits of life.
Do you know what would hold me together on a battlefield? The sense that I was perpetuating the language in which Keats and the rest of them wrote!
As for how criticism of Keats' poetry relates to criticism of my own work, I'll leave that for others to decide.
When I read Andrew Motion's biography, I wept. It's something about the purity of the story and how fresh it was because of the love letters Keats wrote.
If you read Keats's poems, they're often full of doubts and anxieties. They can be quite tough.
I can get very philosophical and ask the questions Keats was asking as a young guy. What are we here for? What's a soul? What's it all about? What is thinking about, imagination?
Eight years ago, I was drawn into Keats's world by Andrew Motion's biography. Soon I was reading back and forth between Keats's letters and his poems. The letters were fresh, intimate and irreverent, as though he were present and speaking. The Keats spell went very deep for me.
It's been such a deep and amazing journey for me, getting close to John Keats, and also I love Shelley and Byron. I mean, the thing about the Romantic poets is that they've got the epitaph of romantic posthumously. They all died really young, and Keats, the youngest of them all.
There's no artist in this world that doesn't enjoy the dream that if they have bad reviews now, the story of Keats can redeem them, in their fantasy or imagination, in the future. I think Keats' poem 'Endymion' is a really difficult poem, and I'm not surprised that a lot of people pulled it apart in a way.
Keats writes better about poems than anybody I've ever read. The things that he says about what he wants his own poems to be are the ideals that I share.
If people connect me with the Romantics in general, they probably connect me most with Keats. But Wordsworth is the poet I admire above all others.
When Keats says: 'Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses', what he means is that we don't necessarily believe what a poem is saying if it comes out and tells us in an absolutely head-on, in-your-face way; we only believe it to be true if we feel it to be true.
If you want to study writing, read Dickens. That's how to study writing, or Faulkner, or D.H. Lawrence, or John Keats. They can teach you everything you need to know about writing.
We learned in the university to consider Wordsworth and Keats as Romantics. They were only a generation apart, but Wordsworth didn't even read Keats's book when he gave him a copy.
I want to read Keats and Wordsworth, Hemingway, George Orwell.
On a summer night it can be lovely to sit around outside with friends after dinner and, yes, read poetry to each other. Keats and Yeats will never let you down, but it's differently exciting to read the work of poets who are still walking around out there.
I am a genius who has written poems that will survive with the best of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Keats.
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