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Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo

The Complete Set

J is of the opinion that too much colour and imagery conceal the thought-substance in poetry. It is better to be as simple and direct as possible.

One can't make rigid rules like that. Wordsworth is as simple and direct as possible (not always though), Keats aims at word-magic. One can't say Wordsworth is a greater poet than Keats.

Whatever style is poetically successful, is admissible.

Next point she makes is that it is better not to close a poem too often with a direct prayer.

Too often, of course not. For then it becomes a mannerism.

The last 2 lines of the poem I've sent you, are weaker than the preceding lines, because they are a prayer.

They are weaker, but not because they are a direct prayer. Why can't a prayer be strong? I will send you one day a poem of mine where there is a direct prayer.

Can you not give some suggestions for improvement? don't plead on your ignorance of Bengali; surely you can point out the defects.

I can tell my impression, but I can't say how it will affect a Bengali reader. My mind may be too international to coincide with the Bengali reader's. I may also miss fine distinctions which he can make, – I mean, shades of language, what is or is not possible, or is or is not native to the language.

You will be glad to know that I am working like a devil, at poetry; anyway, it will keep the d ─ out, won't it?

Of course!


1935 12 21 Exact Writting Letter Nirodbaran