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Comment 5 of 12, added on June 30th, 2009 at 12:25 PM.
Samuel - not to say that great poetry cannot be produced using faint
iambics or that great poets didn't pour over their forms as they grew more
and more adept - but this is certainly a satire on the small town
poet who reckons that his tick, tick, ticks are of little importance. He
even calls his iambics "little" in that sense at the last, when he is
shaking his head with amazement at Homer and Whitman's greatness. No doubt
the narrator of this poem (not necessarily Masters at all) would have been
right up there with Ding and Dong of E.E. Cumming's "Pretty How Town".
Comment 4 of 12, added on June 30th, 2009 at 8:57 AM.
"faint iambics" is perhaps the most meaningful phrase uttered by a poet
looking at his owm work. Not exactly deprecatory as much as insightful is
what he is striving for. The truth of authors who review their own works
varies perhaps as their horizons widen. What would Homer and Emerson
(alluded to greatness by Masters) have said today about their works?
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Comment 3 of 12, added on May 7th, 2009 at 10:00 AM.
what he is saying is that when you are a "little" poet (petit = small) you
are not really paying attention to the life going on around you, ("blind to
all of it") but absorbed in your "forms" - the vilanelle, the iambics,
ticking off your syllables and not saying anything of import.
It's a very cynical view of the poet, perhaps self depractory, who knows?
But what he is saying is that only people like Whitman and Homer produced
anything worthwhile, because they "roared" in the pines (the wilderness) -
in other words, what they had to say, mattered.
This doesn't fit the tone of the wonderful Spoon River epitaphs and if
Masters didn't include it, I'm not surprised. It is perhaps a satire on
his later work, where he reverted to a romantic and conventional style
after producing the wonderful, roaring Spoon River anthology, which is in
free verse and had a whole lot to say about living.
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