One of Those Nights

It’s 2:30 and I’m up typing away knowing I have a meeting at 7:30. Certain lines of research came together earlier this evening as I read Joan Dargan’s book on Simone Weil (Simone Wei: Thinking Poetically, SUNY 1999). By placing Weil’s ascetic Platonism (not Dargan’s phrase) in the context of poetry from Baudelaire to Heaney, she provides a new starting point for my old concept “metaxyturn.” That concept is a response to the immemorial agon between philosophy and poetry, a battle I have been waging with myself as long as I can remember. Tonight’s thought-storm comes after a building up of pressure — there’s a barometric metaphor here — caused by my post on Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones.” (That’s posted at Which I felt did not go down well! It’s an application of a standard of poetry forged in the war with Plato, so I’m unrepentant. But I was ready for some fresh support, and I found it in Dargan. See now I’m hopeful that I can find ways of talking about all this that aren’t so off-putting to poets. It’s at the core of what I do as a writer.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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