The secret of the superiority of the Stradivarius sound may have at last been found. Meanwhile, the earth is apparently screaming its head off. Voyager 2 has phoned in from the edge of the Solar System. Silliman's blogroll has been updated. And the Dil Pickle Club (with one "l") has been revived.
These news stories are coincident, but not necessarily related.
[N.B. See Paul Zukofsky's dissent re the Strad, via Mark Scroggins.]
"Poetry -- excites us to artificial feelings -- makes us callous to real ones."
(Coleridge, in his notebooks; why is there no affordable edition of The Notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge?)
"'Verse,' observes Dryden calmly, 'is not the effect of sudden thought; but this hinders not that sudden thought may be represented in verse.' A heavy stress on the element of mystery in art can hardly escape an ultimate stress on the artist himself and his process. Because if the theorist stresses the mystery of the work itself, he is saying in effect that he cannot understand why it is a good work. And this is close to saying that he does not understand that it is a good work. True, nobody has ever yet completely demonstrated any such understanding. Yet criticism and theory do drive toward understanding, or they drive toward nothing at all."
(W.K. Wimsatt, Jr., on Maritain, exhumed from Poetry, February 1956)
. . . . Poetry is certainly
More interesting, more valuable,
and certainly more charming
Than Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, the Atlantic Ocean
And other much admired natural phenomena...
Poetry is quick as tigers, clever as cats, vivid as oranges...
(bits from Delmore Schwartz, "The Kingdom of Poetry," Poetry, May 1958, quoted for my friend, Vivek Narayanan)