Not self-expression but expressiveness: The languageways of Heart’s Beast.
Apoet’s selected poems from multiple books and a lifetime’s work, implies an intense self-consciousness and a special focus on future readers. Selected poems are not really for one’s existing readership. Saleem Peeradina’s Dedication makes this plain: ‘To my readers, especially the generations that follow my own.’ Any established poet who selects from his published work, especially one as dedicated to craft as Peeradina, is making drastic survival judgments of published work. In choosing what he wants to survive in the future, we would seem to be focused on the poet’s most intense self-expression. Not so with Heart’s Beast.
What are the sources of poetic creativity? Poet and critic Geoffrey Hill answers: ‘I’m not interested in self-expression but in expressiveness.’ (Transcribed from Geoffrey Hill’s valedictory lecture as Oxford Professor of Poetry, 5 May, 2015; podcast available at http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/news-events/regular-events/professor-poetry).