Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

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Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Saturn » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:35 pm

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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Raphael » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:30 pm

Thanks for this Saturn- he has written a very intelligent and deep review- the best I've read!
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Saturn » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:33 pm

You should read his book, if you haven't already, I'm mid way through and it's a very interesting 'biography' or more correctly an extended meditation on Keats' life and work. He has much to say about the posthumous reputation Keats has been lumbered with and the prettification, the emasculation. and the hagiography grown around him that has become to my mind all too prevalent in how some people view Keats.
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Raphael » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:12 pm

Saturn wrote:You should read his book, if you haven't already, I'm mid way through and it's a very interesting 'biography' or more correctly an extended meditation on Keats' life and work. He has much to say about the posthumous reputation Keats has been lumbered with and the prettification, the emasculation. and the hagiography grown around him that has become to my mind all too prevalent in how some people view Keats.



I will do when have the money to buy it. However, not sure I agree with the "lumbering" of him being beautiful and spiritual tho- he was! Emasculation- yes, agree about that being wrong- he was all male... :wink:
John....you did not live to see-
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Ennis » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:19 pm

Saturn wrote:You should read his book, if you haven't already, I'm mid way through and it's a very interesting 'biography' or more correctly an extended meditation on Keats' life and work. He has much to say about the posthumous reputation Keats has been lumbered with and the prettification, the emasculation. and the hagiography grown around him that has become to my mind all too prevalent in how some people view Keats.


Hello, Saturn:

Even though I have not obviously written a biography of Keats, I am proud to admit that I have read most that have been written; however, I am prouder to consider myself a member of that (dubious) group who views Keats as God-like.
I detect, and please correct me if my inference is wrong, a tone of distaste (and I'm not sure this is the word I want) in your comment concerning those (of us) who refuse to view John Keats as just a man, and a very young one at that. "Just a man" was and is not capable of creating perfection with words that have and will continue to withstand the test of time.
I try very hard not to be sexist because I don't believe that "turn around is fail play'; however, maybe there is something to this whole Mars - versus - Venus way of looking at things!
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Malia » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:24 pm

Absolutely, Keats had the spell of genius about him. I would think that fact is undisputed. :) I'm a woman, and I don't see Keats as God-like. In fact, it is his human struggles that attracts me most to him. He had bouts with depression, a temper that sometimes got out of hand, prejudice . . . there was much about Keats that wasn't perfect or God-like. He worked his tail off to become a great writer. His very early work is not that great and I think, had he lived longer, he would have burned his "juvenelia". Keats strove to know himself, to know Beauty in the face of great pain and suffering (not only his own, but what he saw in the general world around him) and that is admirable and laudable. Still, I wouldn't call him super-human or God-like. I'd rather see him as a human with faults who was able to rise to a great level of awareness and activity. He harnessed both the light and shade of his life to create the powerful philosophies and poetry that has become so beloved in the annals of literature.
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Saturn » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:47 pm

I'd agree with you Malia very much so.

Much as I love Keats' work, and admire him as a person, he was flesh and blood and all that that was heir to; that's all I'm saying, he was human, very much so, and had many faults, as we all do, and I just want people to see him as he truly was: A great poet, and writer to be sure, but a fully rounded man, a complicated individual who was not all sweetness and light and oh so wonderful all the time - no one is, which is why it disturbs me when people hero worship him so as if he were one of the pagan gods in Endymion or Hyperion, some abstract perfect notion of the perfect man, and perfect poet, when he was neither. He wouldn't have wanted that in my view.

Writers capture our thoughts, our collective human feelings and experiences and net them like the butterfly for later study; they are the hunters after the rare and colourful; they pin down fast, and forever what we already know, and have known in our hearts, with words. As such, we accord them great honour and rightly so, but worship and idolatry no.
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Cybele » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:38 am

Keats would not have been so great a poet had he not been so very human. I have the thought that his being prone to depression made him introspective and that introspection fed his genius.

His temper made him very aware of the power and beauty of raw, unfiltered emotion. ("Though a quarrel in the streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine; the commonest man shows a grace in his quarrel." )

He recognized in himself a misogynistic streak that, while maddening to the feminist in me, he tried to understand.

He inhaled life and spun it out into poetry that 200 years later still takes the breath away. (“It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.”)

And, sadly, the fact that he died so young makes us speculate about what might have been. (“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter” )

He was definitely not a god, but I think some of us would argue that God, at least, was whispering in his ear.
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Raphael » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:13 am

Keats would not have been so great a poet had he not been so very human. I have the thought that his being prone to depression made him introspective and that introspection fed his genius.

His temper made him very aware of the power and beauty of raw, unfiltered emotion. ("Though a quarrel in the streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine; the commonest man shows a grace in his quarrel." )



He was very human, yes but someone extraordinary- all his friends could see this in him. He was special. They loved being in his company, even when things were difficult.
Being special doesn't mean one has to be perfect- he even noted that- "I do not believe in perfectability"- yet it didn't stop him striving to be better and to know himself. He was his own judge, knew his own "faults" and was self aware in many ways. It was said by one of his friends that they had never met anyone who allowed for other peoples' faults the way John did. I forget who wrote this- it might have been Charles Brown or Joseph Severn. He has shown me that one can find the perfect in the imperfect, that is the paradox. His striving to "do good for the world", his generosity with his time, heart and the little money he had makes me admire him as well as his poetic gift. All this makes him the ideal man to me. :D As ideal as one can get. He was someone worth knowing and being loyal to.


He recognized in himself a misogynistic streak that, while maddening to the feminist in me, he tried to understand.


This has been discussed before and I don't think he was misogynistic- he loved many women- his sister, his mother, Georgiana and of course Fanny Brawne. Broken Lyre and I on another thread agreed he wasn't- he just had some difficulties which led him to question himself and his feelings. He did write that "why should women suffer?" and seemed concerned that they did.His later poems honour the divine feminine- notably in The Fall of Hyperion.



He inhaled life and spun it out into poetry that 200 years later still takes the breath away. (“It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.”)



I like that phrase- inhaled life.



And, sadly, the fact that he died so young makes us speculate about what might have been. (“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter” )


He will forever be young...


He was definitely not a god, but I think some of us would argue that God, at least, was whispering in his ear.


Indeed! :D

But as an aside- the ancient gods are not perfect either- the legends about them describe their struggles, jealousies, loves etc...not even the gods are perfect- the human and god condition are a work in progress in paganism. Endymion himself isn't perfect and has to go through a quest and learning process.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby harvest » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:57 am

loved reading that ~ thanks for sharing :)
Now a soft kiss - Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss. ~ j. keats
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Ennis » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:59 pm

Claiming he was born a god I did not!! What I intimated was that through his very human sufferings and his obvious faults, of which I will admit he had many (primarily screw-up with abadonment issues), he was able to elevate himself, through genius and hard work to god-like status.
If ones have issue with my opinion of Keats, I'm sorry, but frankly (and I do feel I may speak frankly among "friends," albeit cyber ones), I . . . I believe I'd better stop now.
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Ennis » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:32 pm

Saturn wrote:I'd agree with you Malia very much so.

Much as I love Keats' work, and admire him as a person, he was flesh and blood and all that that was heir to; that's all I'm saying, he was human, very much so, and had many faults, as we all do, and I just want people to see him as he truly was: A great poet, and writer to be sure, but a fully rounded man, a complicated individual who was not all sweetness and light and oh so wonderful all the time - no one is, which is why it disturbs me when people hero worship him so as if he were one of the pagan gods in Endymion or Hyperion, some abstract perfect notion of the perfect man, and perfect poet, when he was neither. He wouldn't have wanted that in my view.

Writers capture our thoughts, our collective human feelings and experiences and net them like the butterfly for later study; they are the hunters after the rare and colourful; they pin down fast, and forever what we already know, and have known in our hearts, with words. As such, we accord them great honour and rightly so, but worship and idolatry no.



I never implied he would have wanted that view -- that "hero-worship. . .as if he were one of the Pagan Gods," but who are we to know he wasn't just addressing the deification of Apollo (and therefore the birth of The Poet), but also, possibly, referring to himself in Book III of Hyperion

"Knowledge enormous makes a god of me . . .

He did believe strongly, at one time, that he would "be among the English poets."

I'm through defending myself. . .
No, I'm not. I don't believe anyone has the presumption to suggest to me whether or not I can or should "idolize" or "worship" anyone I choose. :x
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Ennis » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:14 pm

Malia wrote:Absolutely, Keats had the spell of genius about him. I would think that fact is undisputed. :) I'm a woman, and I don't see Keats as God-like. In fact, it is his human struggles that attracts me most to him. He had bouts with depression, a temper that sometimes got out of hand, prejudice . . . there was much about Keats that wasn't perfect or God-like. He worked his tail off to become a great writer. His very early work is not that great and I think, had he lived longer, he would have burned his "juvenelia". Keats strove to know himself, to know Beauty in the face of great pain and suffering (not only his own, but what he saw in the general world around him) and that is admirable and laudable. Still, I wouldn't call him super-human or God-like. I'd rather see him as a human with faults who was able to rise to a great level of awareness and activity. He harnessed both the light and shade of his life to create the powerful philosophies and poetry that has become so beloved in the annals of literature.


I'll just allow John Keats to speak for himself (again),

"There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions -- but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perfection -- they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God."

I'll just drop this . . . What does it matter, anyway?
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Ennis » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:25 pm

Ennis wrote:
Malia wrote:Absolutely, Keats had the spell of genius about him. I would think that fact is undisputed. :) I'm a woman, and I don't see Keats as God-like. In fact, it is his human struggles that attracts me most to him. He had bouts with depression, a temper that sometimes got out of hand, prejudice . . . there was much about Keats that wasn't perfect or God-like. He worked his tail off to become a great writer. His very early work is not that great and I think, had he lived longer, he would have burned his "juvenelia". Keats strove to know himself, to know Beauty in the face of great pain and suffering (not only his own, but what he saw in the general world around him) and that is admirable and laudable. Still, I wouldn't call him super-human or God-like. I'd rather see him as a human with faults who was able to rise to a great level of awareness and activity. He harnessed both the light and shade of his life to create the powerful philosophies and poetry that has become so beloved in the annals of literature.


I'll just allow John Keats to speak for himself (again),

"There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions -- but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perfection -- they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God."

I'll just drop this . . . What does it matter, anyway?


But I can't! That "sparks of divinity" quote with the reference to the God within is such a part of Pagan philosophy. For those who are tempted to renounce Keats's reference to Pagan influence, maybe he was a Pagan and didn't realize it (even though biographers, and I'm sure Keats himself, considered him to be a Deist).

I'm through, now. I promise.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Stanley Plumly on 'Bright Star'

Postby Raphael » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:07 pm

What I intimated was that through his very human sufferings and his obvious faults, of which I will admit he had many (primarily screw-up with abandonment issues), he was able to elevate himself, through genius and hard work to god-like status.



Genuises are different to the ordinary folks- that's my take on it. Their gift usually appears at an early age- and are often intense people who have very magical or charismatic personalities. They often have insights into things that it takes 40 years or more to grasp in ordinary folks (if it comes at all). Certainly this is true of John Keats.


I rather like the “faults”- some of them were endearing. As for having issues with abandonment, hardly surprising- who wouldn’t after what he had suffered? But he was working through it and I firmly believe had not contracted Consumption and married Miss Brawne and had a happy family life with her (which I think he would have) he would have come to terms with things as he got older.




I'll just allow John Keats to speak for himself (again),

"There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions -- but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perfection -- they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God."



The word God means different things to different people. Some people see God as a Source as an energy force which powers the Universe and this Source gains awareness/consciousness through physical life forms. I like Eckhart Tolle’s teachings on God, the Now and realisation. He talks about the Being that is within all of us and when we are close to it we create something that is bigger than the ego. I’m probably not explaining it right. I’ll have to read his book again.



But I can't! That "sparks of divinity" quote with the reference to the God within is such a part of Pagan philosophy. For those who are tempted to renounce Keats's reference to Pagan influence, maybe he was a Pagan and didn't realize it (even though biographers and I'm sure Keats himself, considered him to be a Deist).



Well he did like his ancient Greek Mythology and was very spiritual. His later poems did explore the Quest for knowledge. His letters still astound me- to have such insights for a young man is pretty amazing.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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