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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 3, No. 4. 1940

In Defence of Poetry

In Defence of Poetry.

I struggled through Saroyan, but "the emotion evident in me" forced me to abandon the blasphemous coprology of the "Grapes of Wrath" at Chapter 2, and to return to the realas of gold from which I had been suddenly roused by the distant challenge of the writer of a "Short Discourse of Poetry".

Ballad-mongers, penny-a-liners, witling spinsters, furnace- breasted Don Juans, film-stars with secret sorrows, devotees of the latest corn-cure, futurists, classicists, nihilists, impressionists, Surrealists - all have desecrated the sacred shrine of poetry by offering on it to the muses the murdered and mutilated ecstasies which they have deemed too passionate to be couched in mundane prose. None of these are poets, nor any of their works true poetry; class then as versifiers and their product verse.

Poets are those rare visionarios blessed with an intense prophetic power, who, living in the light of an anticipated eternity, translate into the hearts of other men those divine mysteries which they alone can comprehend.

Poetry is eternal, but prose must die Prose will remain in use as long as there exist some human imperfections, some worldly problems, some enigmas unsolved. But poetry, being divine, transcends things worldly, outstrips time and space and is as immutable as the divine spirit from which it springs. For prose is of man and it mirrors the doubts, the fears, the conflicts, the limitations of man's mind It is the slave of argument, criticism, exposition, end the other expressions of severely logical mentality. But poetry has no worldly fetters, no creed, no faction and it belongs to no age. It is the sublime escape from materialism, ant the purest and the noblest of human passions - - a lust for eternity.

J. B. W.