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Monday, May 2, 2011

Living Art

Girl with Rose Basket by George Bullied (1858-1933)
     Never flinch,
But still, unscrupulously epic, catch
Upon a burning lava of a song,
The full-veined, heaving, double-breasted Age:
That, when the next shall come, the men of that
May touch the impress with reverent hand, and say
'Behold,–behold the paps we all have sucked!
That bosom seems to beat still, or at least
It sets ours beating. This is living art,
Which thus presents, and thus records true life' (213-22).

Aurora sees poets as the prophets of their generation (699-700).  As such, a poet's work should represent their age and not one of the past, as a poet cannot live off second hand information.  They must be the primary source of reference, depending on their own observations.

Furthermore, poets have a responsibility to posterity, though specifically to the next age.  As mentioned in the passage above, the present is a "double-breasted Age" and the job of poets is to mother and nurture the following generation.  This goal results in the production of "living art," the gift of life given to the successive era.  Living art presents true life, but it also gives life while awakening and encouraging the poetic gift in others.

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