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Art is a lie that tells the truth essay - Chermel Williams
They're not always factually true. There's a good deal of tinkering with fact. You leave out a lot, and emphasize this and not that. Your actual experience is a complete flux. I've invented facts and changed things, and the whole balance of the poem was something invented. So there's a lot of artistry, I hope, in the poems. Yet there's this thing: if a poem is autobiographical—and this is true of any kind of autobiographical writing and of historical writing—you want the reader to say, this is true. In something like MacCaulay's History of England you think you're really getting Willliam III. That's as good as a good plot in a novel. And so there was always that standard of truth which you wouldn't have in poetry—the reader was to believe he was getting the real Robert Lowell.
5 The men in that far country were liars, every one. Their mere howdy-do was a lie, because they didn't care how you did, except they were undertakers. To the ordinary inquirer you lied in return; for you made no conscientious diagnosis of your case, but answered at random, and usually missed it considerably. You lied to the undertaker, and said your health was failing--a wholly commendable lie, since it cost you nothing and pleased the other man. If a stranger called and interrupted you, you said with your hearty tongue, "I'm glad to see you," and said with your heartier soul, "I wish you were with the cannibals and it was dinner time." When he went, you said regretfully, "Must you go?" and followed it with a "Call again"; but you did no harm, for you did not deceive anybody nor inflict any hurt, whereas the truth would have made you both unhappy.
Art is a lie that tells the truth ..
Readers did believe, as did critics, and so "Confessionalism"—a movement no one really wanted to be in—was created. This often meant (among the weaker poets) that artistry was ignored in favor of personal revelation. Real truth would carry the day. Lowell suggests that in "any kind" of autobiographical and historical writing "you want the reader to say, this is true." The writer who presents his work as fiction, however much it makes use of the autobiographical, tells the reader to pay attention to the work itself. The transformation of the personal is what's important. By making the opposite assertion—conflating speaker and poet to present "the real," Lowell risks personal confession overwhelming artistry, not in the making of the poem but for some readers of it.
For example, the poet Phillip Booth, who owned a house in Castine and knew Lowell, tells a story of meeting in a laundromat in Castine "a vacationing school-teacher from Bangor, a woman I grew up with." "You write poetry sometimes, don't you?" the woman says, and Booth admits he does. "Will you tell me," the woman continues, "how a poet like Mr. Lowell can be so famous when he can't even get Jimmy Sawyer on the right island? ... Everybody knows that that woman on Nautilus Island [in "Skunk Hour"] never had children, and that Jimmy Sawyer keeps the farm for Miss Harris over on Holbrook Island! Now you tell me, how can a poet like that get so famous?" How could a "famous" poet get the facts so wrong? And how can we believe anything he has to say if he can't get his islands straight? The factual truth is the bottom line for her.
Impassio Press: Art is a Lie that tells the Truth - FragLit
Then shall we be rid of the rank and pestilent truth that is rotting the land; then shall we be great and good and beautiful, and worthy dwellers in a world where even benign Nature habitually lies, except when she promises execrable weather. Then-- But I am but a new and feeble student in this gracious art; I cannot instruct this Club.
But that’s not quite right. As the Princeton University philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt put it in a famous essay, to lie presumes a kind of awareness of and interest in the truth — and the goal is to convince the audience that the false thing you are saying is in fact true. Trump, more often than not, isn’t interested in convincing anyone of anything. He’s a bullshitter who simply doesn’t care.
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“Art is the lie that tells the truth
Neither should ever be uttered. The man who speaks an injurious truth lest his soul be not saved if he do otherwise, should reflect that that sort of a soul is not strictly worth saving. The man who tells a lie to help a poor devil out of trouble, is one of whom the angels doubtless say, "Lo, here is an heroic soul who casts his own welfare into jeopardy to succor his neighbor's; let us exalt this magnanimous liar."
Art Is Lie That Brings Truth Nearer - UK Essays
The shock of the last line depends upon the reader's assumption that the poet has a daughter, that the title, in other words, tells the truth. A more accurate title, like "Unpleasant Speculations About Fatherhood," wouldn't sufficiently prepare for the twist at the end. (How effective this move remains on repeated readings is a separate problem.) But there's no doubt that the final two sentences, on a first reading, are a significant surprise, and that the surprise depends upon an assumption about factual truth. I suspect that even readers who are theoretically disposed to keeping truth inside a set of quotation marks, who believe all "truths" are inventions, would be taken in by Kees's poem. The title is, after all, so conventional it doesn't seem to be hiding anything; it doesn't feel like a concept anyone would want to challenge. However wary we have become as readers, no one begins a poem entitled "For My Wife" by immediately wondering if the poet really has a wife. We can't be suspicious of everything.
Art is a lie that tells the truth essays
What is my relationship to the claims I'm making in this essay? The poems which you, reader, trust I've quoted correctly (and I have), allow you the freedom to disagree or concur with whatever I've said. But I imagine you accepted my anecdote about Roger as true. And it's not. Well, it's partly true, and I doubt if the degree of truth here would change your mind about the arguments of the essay. You wouldn't exclaim: No, you can't do that! And I needn't have admitted it, and wouldn't have, except that it seemed like a nice turn at this point in the essay. Someone else in my dorm that year showed me "On the Death of My Father," then told me his father hadn't died. I've forgotten his name. "Roger" came to mind, so Roger it was. I wanted a name to make the story more concrete, even more believable. Of course I could have made the whole anecdote up. Or just kept quiet about the "truth" of it.
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