Poem introduction

One of the great curiosities of English literature, also one of the glories of English literature, everyone knows the story about Coleridge’s opium dream of Kubla Khan, and the person from Porlock who interrupted it. I, rather against the grain of things, think that the person from Porlock may possibly have been a discriminating editor, that it might actually just have run about as far as it was going to, profitably, but absolutely marvellous it is. Two quite distinct fragments really compose the fragment, split rather in, I think, a way that looks forward to Eliot and the latter section certainly looks very strongly forward to Yeats, who must have learned an awful lot from it. Marvellous it is.

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Over the years I’ve become increasingly interested in the lyrical nature of poetry. I find that the more I’ve taken in...

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