On Teaching the Young

By Yvor Winters 1900–1968 Yvor Winters
The young are quick of speech.
Grown middle-aged, I teach
Corrosion and distrust,
Exacting what I must.

A poem is what stands
When imperceptive hands,
Feeling, have gone astray.
It is what one should say.

Few minds will come to this.
The poet’s only bliss
Is in cold certitude—
Laurel, archaic, rude.

Yvor Winters, “On Teaching the Young” from The Selected Poems of Yvor Winters, edited by R. L. Barth. Used by permission of Ohio University
Press, Athens, Ohio.

Source: The Collected Poems of Yvor Winters (1960)

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Poet Yvor Winters 1900–1968

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Midlife, Arts & Sciences, Living, School & Learning, Youth, Activities, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Couplet

 Yvor  Winters

Biography

When Yvor Winters’s publisher and friend Alan Swallow hailed him in 1940 as the “sage of Palo Alto,” he accurately touched on the paradox of Winters’s career: the isolation in which he became admired as a poet, a teacher, and critic of poetry. For Winters, who adopted California early in his career as his permanent home, participated in the major poetic and critical movements of the 20th century—imagism, the expatriate . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Midlife, Arts & Sciences, Living, School & Learning, Youth, Activities, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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