Strait_v1n3_1971-10

The Real World Levertov is in an intellectual dilemma; she is demanding the right not to kill people she will never see. There is a separation which can never be destroyed; political poetry whose tone is so heavy-handed can never be good poetry. This is not in support of aesthetic distance; a writer must be involved with his subject but not so close that he is blinded by its proportions. The genius in creation is not the recording of experience but the artist's deeper perception, his gift to see more, to be able to draw com- parisons without blatantly telling the reader what to think. Levertov does not seem to trust people to find out. Levertov is a poet. When there's no presence of pro- testers or police, she has a mastery of words which can only be described as,"The restlessness of the sound of waves... ," a line from "Prologue: An Interim." In section four of that poem, the beat of the revolution halts for a while by the sea: a definition of peace without speaking of the absence of blood. She has more power in that poem than in all of her hysterical shouting of "Revolution or death." Ho Chi Minh is at least more honest in his writing; he never claimed to be a poet, but his simple verses give a much more human view of the world. He is, in confinement, more optimistic than Levertov in her freedom: The morning sunshine penetrates into the prison, Sweeping away the smoke and burning away the mist. The breath of life fills the whole universe, And smiles light up the faces of all the prisoners. It is as D.H. Lawrence wrote, "It is never freedom till you find something you really positively want to be." Ho knew that he had to return to lead his people; it keeps him alive and hopeful. Levertov is broken between politics and poetry, per- haps she has just to separate them to be effective in both. In war there are three kinds of victims: the physical, the psychological and a combination of the two. Some die because of it; all others live through it. It is because of its inescapability that it cannot be tolerated, especially by artists, for it destroys the very core of their work, humanity and the world.. "It is only as creators that we can annihilate!" Friedrich Nietzsche from Joyful Wisdom

A Separate Peace

• CAROL EDMONDSON

ON BEING ASKED FOR A WAR POEM I think it better that in times like these A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth We have no gift to set a statesman right; He has had enough of meddling who can please A young girl in the indolence of her youth, Or an old man upon a winter's night W.B. Yeats, 1916

There is a conflict in the arts, whether to be true to the arts or use the power of art to effect social change. This has become increasingly apparent in the growth of anti-war and anti-establishment literature. The key to this conflict lies in the fact that the artist who seeks to destroy the state in every creation is as overtly propagandistic as the artist hired to praise it. The people who have successfully condemned war were either non-political or removed in time from their subject. The Red Badge of Courage was written in 1893, over twenty years after the Civil War, yet it remains one of the most effective condemnations of war, while retaining literary excellence. Stephen Crane wasn't born until 1872, he had no experience in the war about which he wrote. Homer and • ergil wrote about senseless wars in retrospect. Mark Twain ~as involved in the Civil War but he views it through the eyes of the artist; his "War Prayer" is a biting satire on prayers for victory. William Butler Yeats wrote "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"; it is an examination of a flyer's non-reasons for being involved in a war: It seemed natural to compare two recently published books involved with personal experiences in political events. Denise Levertov's To Stay Alive [New Directions] and The Prison Diary of Ho Chi Minh [Bantam Books] , both use the medium of verse to convey the senselessness in political im- prisonment; both authors were involved in political move- ments having to do with war, Vietnam and World War II respectively.They are fighting for their lives in their own words. For Ho, life is surviving the ordeal of prison and rejoining his people for the fight against the Japanese. Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love

,,

Records .

that reflects, and captures the many moods of Cat Stevens. The first cut on the album, The Wind, is a soft, ac- coustic track with a very convincing vocal delivered by Cat Stevens. The song is very tight and well structured, not too long but just long enough to register as one of Cat Stevens' reflections on life. The next track, Ruby Love,.. is my favorite song on the album. It is simply a catchy, beautiful, fast-moving song which employs a bouzoukia giving the song a real Greek flavor. Cat Stevens is truly a great musician and song writer who is deeply concerned with quality and, realizin9 the exorbitant

prices charged by all record companies to- day, he gives us every bit of our money's worth in fine music. Don't get me wrong though, Cat Stevens is also deeply con- cerned with life and the message which can be delivered in this popular medium. His lyrics contain his reflections on his o_wn life then and now, as well as life in general. He artfully mixes his soft reflec- tive tracks with fast-paced tracks which creates variation on the album, so unlike many successful solo artists today. This variation or one (reflective) two (fast-paced, happy) punch creates a

MIKE SAJECK,

CAT STEVENS: TEASER AND THE FIRECAT (A&M - 4313)

At first listening, I thought that Teaser and the Firecat could never, in any stretch of the imagination, equal the calibre of Tea for the Tillerman, Cat Stevens' last album. But I was wrong for allowing a first impression to float in my head for too long a period of time. Teaser and the F-irecat, Cat Stevens' new album is truly a fine piece of work,

Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter