Friday, June 4, 2010

Another talker nonpareil

The latest issue of ABR sports a bit of wordplay reminiscent of a tabloid headline - "Littoral Truth" - but it is wonderfully apt, and one feels sure the subject of the main article, the recently deceased Peter Porter, would have appreciated it. After all, a predecessor whose presence loomed large through Porter's thought and writing was W. H. Auden, who had said "Good poets have a weakness for bad puns."

Peter Steele's article on Porter is packed with choice quotes from Porter and others. He includes Porter's statements that "No poet can be great who is not memorable, unmistakeable and a virtuoso," and that "All the poetry I love is potential energy come to rest."

Another key figure for Porter was Robert Browning: "In his copious and generous output, Browning satisfies the unquenchable haranguer which is in each of us. We are born, we talk and we die. But chiefly we talk, and when we meet a good talker we listen. Browning is the talker non pareil."

There is much else worth quoting in the piece, so much that I'd surely infringe copyright if I put all the good bits in this blog. Fortunately ABR has made the article available online here.

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