Persons from Porlock: Smith, MacNeice, Thomas

It was not right of Coleridge in fact it was wrong
(But often we all do wrong)
As the truth is I think he was already stuck
With Kubla Khan.

He was weeping and wailing: I am finished, finished,
I shall never write another word of it,
When along comes the Person from Porlock
And takes the blame for it.

Illustration to Stevie Smith's 'Thoughts About the Person from Porlock'
Illustration of Stevie Smith’s ‘Thoughts About the Person from Porlock’ (1962)

Coleridge’s Person from Porlock had a good few outings in the mid-twentieth-century.

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Proper Smith

‘for something to be proper it must either belong to something else, or be in full possession of itself.’ – Camelia Elias

I found this quotation in Elias’s The Fragment: towards the History and Poetics of a Performative Genre. I was mostly looking for ideas about the fragmentary, but I liked Elias’s definition of the ‘proper’ so much that I decided to digress into a blog post about it.

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