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Tony Grist

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Southey [May. 13th, 2014|09:45 am]
Tony Grist
I tracked down a poem by Southey last night. I needed it to bolster an argument I was having with myself about living too much in the past. I had thought the first line was "I have lived too much among the dead"; but it turned out to be "My days among the dead are passed"- and that instead of beating himself up for being unable to cope with modern life he's patting himself on the back for having his nose stuck in his Cicero.

It ends with him hoping- no false modesty about our Bob- that his own name will live for ever. When Shakespeare does that sort of thing he gets away with it. When Southey does it, well....

Poor Southey; he is remembered,  but it's mainly as the first generation romantic poet it's safe to disregard- or- in other words as the chap who isn't as good as Wordsworth and Coleridge. Byron took a terrific swipe at him for greasing up to royalty. Flytings are terrible things. The poet who loses is stuck in the shit forever.

He wasn't a bad poet, just a moderately decent one.  There's a poem about the Battle of Blenheim which- though rather heavy-handed- deserves to be read.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 01:35 pm (UTC)
That is outstandingly bad.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 03:18 pm (UTC)
I just read an article about Frieda Hughes on the BBC website, about her training to be a counselor. She's had a difficult life and I feel for her - but Christ, tin ear for poetry or what? Makes Southey look like Tennyson.

I have the lowest opinion of her father it's possible for anyone to have, but even I wouldn't say she takes after him in aptitude. He had an ear.

Edited at 2014-05-13 03:19 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 04:30 pm (UTC)
I don't like Hughes either- as a man or a poet- but I'll concede he had talent.

It must be tough having to carry Ted and Sylvia around as parents.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 04:35 pm (UTC)
Months later, my marriage/Already rotting on its acrimonious stalk/ Follows him into the ground/And my brother too, who couldn't wait to leave

Following this devastating series of events, she describes her inner life as a wasteland.

Now my internal landscape is little more/ Than a bone yard

Holy shit, that's really terrible. She should get a day job and never ever give it up. Hopefully counselling will work for her.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 04:42 pm (UTC)
I see she's had collections published. O dear :(

Poetry rarely runs in families. Coleridge had a son- Hartley- who wasn't bad. I can't think of any other example of a good poet who had a good poet among his/her offspring.
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 04:46 pm (UTC)
Her brother "who couldn't wait to leave" had a very respectable career as a marine biologist. Sensible bloke. I was sorry to hear about his depression and suicide.

Hartley Coleridge knocked around with Branwell Bronte, or so I've heard, which brings us round back to Southey in a very large circle. Mind you with Hartley and Branwell, hard to know which was the worse influence on the other.
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