Friday, December 12, 2008

From today's Writer's Almanac, a quote attributed to Flaubert:

"You must not think that feeling is everything. Art is nothing without form."

Love it.

But is the converse of the above statement true as well? "You must not think that form is everything. Art is nothing without feeling." Yeah. I think so. It feels right to me.


Michael Dylan Welch said...

I am reminded of E. E. Cummings, who wrote "since feeling is first". He doesn't say feeling is everything, but that it comes first, so he agrees with Flaubert.

Here's the whole Cummings poem:

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Cummings, of course, was much more formal than most people realize, working out elaborate constructions for his visual poems, writing sonnets more than any other form (even if they're somewhat disguised), and caring deeply about both form and content -- so long as feeling always came first.

Michael Dylan Welch

Peter said...

Thanks, Michael. I *love* the poem/example you quote. pp