A few more thoughts on telling the truth. It is not just setting the facts down – that is always going to be a selective exercise, and an interpretive one, as I am discovering writing my biography of Arthur Hughes. Poetry is truth telling in yet another mode. Here is John Betjeman, sometime Poet Laureate:
What poetry is, I do not quite know. Maybe it is the right words in the right order. For me it requires rhythm and, as an extra flourish, rhyme. It is the shortest and the most memorable way of saying what you want said.
In Lovely bits of Old England. Gavin Fuller, Ed. London, Aurum, 2012. P96.
Betjeman was building on a previous poet’s definition:
I wish our clever young poets would remember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose,—words in their best order; poetry,—the best words in their best order.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Note the link between Fran Horner’s quest for succinctness (see yesterday’s post) and Betjeman’s ‘shortest and most memorable’ way of saying something!
With that, I’ll hush up!
Charlottenberg Park, Berlin.