'Beauty in Usuality'

Ivor Gurney and the Twistedness of Things

in Critical Survey
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For Ivor Gurney nothing came easily. ‘The price of almost anything that one desires worthily’, he wrote from France in 1917, ‘is only Pain … long ago I decided that to accomplish what I wish was worth a great deal of pain and was ready to undergo it’. ‘We Who Praise Poets’ suggests that the poet may expect no praise from his contemporaries, and his worth is only to be measured against the ‘great trees’ of past poetry, ‘the able and the mighty dead’: in effect, those dead are envisaged as pronouncing the verdict on his achievement.

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