In ancient times, the Chinese said that ‘at the time of inspiration’, the poet flew from one world to another, ‘riding on dragons’. This sudden great flight or leaping up out of the conscious world of rational perception into the fantastic realms of the subconscious is what gives good poetry its peculiar force and its fascinating charm. It is surprising that our critics have seldom mentioned the poem’s powers of fast association as a basic source of its strength. If and when they talk about it at all, it is usually to show the associations as clever devices for bringing home to us a social truth or a personal attitude.
July-August 1977, volume 2, No 4