Additional Friction

Qualifying Readers and Publishers

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”)

It’s easy to hear only the first sentence (above): license for anything goes. Look right.

Of poems of the third or fourth class, (perhaps even some of the second,) it makes little or no difference who writes them—they are good enough for what they are; nor is it necessary that they should be actual emanations from the personality and life of the writers. The very reverse sometimes gives piquancy. But poems of the first class, (poems of the depth, as distinguished from those of the surface,) are to be sternly tallied with the poets themselves…. 

Poetry (like a grand personality) is a growth of many generations—many rare combinations.

To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too. (Walt Whitman, “Ventures, on an Old Theme”)

It’s standard to hear only the last sentence (above). No takers? That’s not the issue. I still have to write it, I have to live with it.

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