What is a poet?

I’ve been meaning to type this in and post it for ages. It’s the opening of Either/Or, by Kierkegaard:

What is a poet? An unhappy man who in his heart harbors a deep anguish, but whose lips are so fashioned that the moans and cries which pass over them are transformed into ravishing music. . . And men crowd about the poet and say to him, “Sing for us soon again” — which is as much to say, “May new sufferings torment your sould, but may your lips be fashioned as before; for the cries would only distress us, but the music, the music, is delightful!”

(I have to note that I’ve never read Either/Or, I read the quote in the much more compact Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx: Three Great Philosophers Whose Ideas Changed the Course of Civilization)

I finally dug out the book and typed it in this morning after reading this review of Anathem by Neil Stephenson. It sounds quite good, I never did read the last two books of the Baroque Cycle but would like to once of these days. Reading fiction has been severely truncated since Anna joined the household!

I’ve often thought of the Kierkegaard quote while reading Richardson and other great poets. As I typed it in, I realized how adolescent-sounding it seems, but let it bounce around your head for a while and see if you don’t agree with him. He had an interesting life; worth reading about.

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