The Infamous Myth

I was once in thrall to the infamous myth
Of the artiste souffrant,
But I’ve come ultimately to see it 
As the cruellest of delusions.
But could it not be said
That it’s still among us, 
That malefic notion 
That the artist is a spirit set apart 
For some special purpose,
Of which pain is an essential component?

Author's Notes/Comments: 

'The Infamous Myth' originates from ca. 2014. Image from ca. spring 2014.

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Starward's picture

I have been told that myth

I have been told that myth was first spread about by George Gordon, Lord Byron, as a way to sell poems and find women willing to offer their bodies to him as a consolation for his troubles.  It then seemed to be picked up by the confessional poets (Plath, Sexton, Lowell) in the fifties in what was probably a backlash against the Pound/Eliot modernism that started in the late teens and twenties.  I think there was also such a myth in nineteenth century French poetry, too (Alfred de Musset, Baudelaire).  All human beings have some suffering in their lives.  The best poets tell us how to overcome it, not how to wallow in it.


Starward

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Carl_Halling's picture

Very strong and interesting points made...

...melancholy was a strong feature of Romanticism; and Byron exerted a powerful influence on the 1830s generation of French Romantics, including Musset, who preceded Baudelaire. Certainly melancholy haunted the great Confessional school of American poets, whether in their work or life or both...Plath, Sexton, Lowell, as well as Berryman, Jarrell. And I agree with you, wallowing in suffering is not necessary for a poet, far from it. Carl.


Born London, residing London Metropolitan Area.

Starward's picture

I like your attitude!

I like your attitude!


Starward

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allets's picture

Pain

Pain is a part of all of us. No one is exempt. Eventually an emotion is going to happen and it is not going to be all butterflies and daffodils. Depression - I don't get depression - born with saddneess all the time - I am glad I get some hilarity and snickers for balance, a slow smile at some event that distracts inside distortion, a pleasant poem written to bring joy. PTSD happens too - I have survived - it was hard, but I arrived on the other side of tragedy thoughtfully unbroken and mostly mended. If you live long enough, a tree is going to fall on your house. No one is understood. Another life lesson for contemplaiton. I am not a proponent of to write one must suffer - we all suffer. Eventually. It's called living. - slc


 

 

Carl_Halling's picture

Very true...

I am glad you arrived onthe other side of tragedy, and as you rightly say, suffering is part of life. Carl.


Born London, residing London Metropolitan Area.