Thursday, 3 November 2011


This link to the The Poetry Archive's page for Empson's poem 'Let it Go' includes a splendid reading-by-the-poet himself, from which we discover that Empson's voice was a lot posher than I previously assumed (the way he pronounces 'there' as they-are). Here's the poem:
It is this deep blankness is the real thing strange.
The more things happen to you the more you can't
Tell or remember even what they were.

The contradictions cover such a range.
The talk would talk and go so far aslant.
You don't want madhouse and the whole thing there.
The site suggests this is a poem about giving up writing poetry; the slightly mangled, wrongfooting syntax, the over-determined rhyme-scheme, the brevity, the studied vagueness of 'deep blankness' leading into the fluent mundanity of lines 2-4, the way the final word ('they-are') is used without any discernable specificity ... all this would fit such a reading. But the notion of a reading being 'fitted' to a poem, after the manner of a crossword clue being solved and the word fitted into the grid, rather revolts me, I must say.

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