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  • Writer's pictureOw Yeong Wai Kit

Such grief can only be told in form

Blake Morrison recounts a scene in Tobias Wolff's autobiographical novel Old School, in which Ramsey, a young teacher, asks Robert Frost whether form really matters any more. Shouldn't writing that is spontaneous, even disorderly, be a better way to reflect the tensions and traumas of modern-day experience? Frost offers a devastating reply: "I lost my nearest friend in the one they called the Great War. So did Achilles lose his friend in war, and Homer did no injustice to his grief by writing about it in dactylic hexameters … Such grief can only be told in form … Without it you've got nothing but a stubbed-toe cry – sincere, maybe, for what that's worth, but with no depth or carry. No echo. You may have a grievance but you do not have grief."

Do check out the full link at this Guardian article.

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