Randall Jarrell, writing in 1941: ”Realizing that the best poetry of the [1920s] was too inaccessible, we can will our poetry into accessibility—but how much poetry will be left when we finish? Our political or humanitarian interests may make us wish to make our poetry accessible to large groups . . . . “
The debate—whether one should strive to make one’s verse accessible—still rages of course. It’s the boildown of what most poets’ tiffs are about, ain’t it?
If Brecht in his USA exile had found refuge not in Hollywood, but in the poetic Academe of the day, if Jarrell had worked with Brecht to translate the latter’s poems . . .
Knott is on target here, as he so often is—with both his insight and his suggested avenue toward a rapprochement, if not an actual resolution. Imagine Phil Levine translating Jorie Graham for the folks in Fresno, or Ron Silliman translating Tom McGrath for the UbuWeb fanbase. Multilateral disarmament!
But could I do it myself, I wonder? In this respect I’ve been like Berryman‘s Henry:
Huffy Henry hid  the day,
unappeasable Henry sulked.
I see his point,–a trying to put things over.
It was the thought that they thought
they could do it made Henry wicked & away.
But he should have come out and talked.
How to begin?
More perhaps in some future post…