Wednesday, May 18, 2005

More Frye on Poetry

The best quote I've found this week in Frye's The Bush Garden (my favourite book right now) is from his 1943 essay "Canada and its Poetry," a review of A.J.M. Smith's Book of Canadian Poetry.

"Every Canadian has some feeling of sparseness when he compares, for example, Canada's fifth largest city, which I believe is Hamilton, with the fifth largest across the line, which I believe is Los Angeles. And the same is true of poetry. Every issue of the New Yorker or New Republic, to say nothing of the magazines which really go in for poetry, contains at least one poem which is technically on a level with five-sixths of Mr. Smith's book. With so luxuriant a greenhouse next door, why bother to climb mountains to look for the odd bit of edelweiss? The only answer is, I suppose, that in what Canadian poems have tried to do there is an interest for Canadian readers much deeper than what the achievement in itself justifies."

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