A(rthur) J(ames) M(arshall) Smith A.J.M. Smith - Essay

A.J.M. Smith

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

When I write a poem I try to know what I am doing—at least with respect to craft. Luck is needed too, of course, and luck is unpredictable. All I know about it is that it has to be earned. Everything beneath the surface of technique remains obscure. It is this subterranean world … I shall try to explore in these very tentative notes. (p. 20)

I do not believe in progress in the ordinary sense of the word. The more recent poems in [Collected Verse] are neither "better" nor "worse" than the earlier, and what differences there are depend on the genre or the occasion, not on the time of writing…. The different voices and different modes called for by the different occasions should not obscure...

(The entire section is 840 words.)