Sunday, January 19, 2014

Durrell unreticent

And poetry, you once said, can be a deliverance
And true in many sorts of different sense,
Explicit or else like that awkward stare,
The perfect form of public reticence.

I would guess, after a while,
many of us know our short list
of writers, to whom we return
for a kind of revitalising vis-
it, only to turn up more than
we originally discovered. Dur-
rell is securely on that list
for me; and he is not a stored
pleasure, for this reason. He
is almost a surrogate conversa-
tionalist, but I do appreciate
his distinctiveness. He is not,
to put it mildly, a pet.

I would not like to be in any
position of seeming to offer a
boast for Lawrence Durrell. I'm
unhappy with such things, espe-
cially for practitioners in his
art of writing. A lover of mine
from Paris sometime back once
replied, to one of my exuberant
praises, But I had nothing to do
with it. Durrell had everything
to do with how he wrote, but not
with what he gave it.

Lawrence Durrell
Selected Poems
Peter Porter, editor
op. cit.

Clément Chabernaud

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