That literary-popular distinction is, in my view, vastly overstated. At the far poles there are clearly books that are purely commercial and purely literary, written for audiences that want to see the same thing enacted over and over and over again. But the middle is where most people read and most people write.
The poet's role has changed over the centuries, the ages. The poets, the griots, used to be the keepers of the facts; they were the story tellers, and the stories were allegorically written truths: where we came from, how we migrated over this river, got with this tribe, became this nation, and tamed the mountains. It changed from that to being purely entertainment. And once it became purely entertainment, it lost something.
John Hodgson can describe Richard Dawkins's atheism as vacuous only because 'atheist' is a term which non-believers use purely as a polemical convenience when we have to define concisely what we don't believe [... ]. No atheist is principally that. What we'd want to call ourselves is humanist or materialist, or biologist or linguist, or for that matter socialist, because one or more of these, or something else again, is what we do and think and are. We have 'purely and simply finished with God', to adapt a phrase of Engels's.
It's chemical, fancying him is purely chemical. It's intoxicating - the frisson, the attraction - it's intoxicating because it's purely chemical. But you'll just have to remember the wedding ring - divorcees don't wear wedding rings. This guy has his own Vita at home. You're his potential Suzie. Is that who you want to be? Do you want the next man in your life to have Tim's principles?
Wine is similar to music in that it's a purely experiential realm, and it's a purely subjective practice. That's sort of the funny thing about wine criticism or, for that matter, music criticism. At times, those are useful guides, but ultimately it's all about how you react to that music or wine.
A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.
I want relations which are not purely personal, based on purely personal qualities; but relations based upon some unanimous accord in truth or belief, and a harmony of purpose, rather than of personality. I am weary of personality. Let us be easy and impersonal, not forever fingering over our own souls, and the souls of our acquaintances, but trying to create a new life, a new common life, a new complete tree of life from the roots that are within us.
D. H. Lawrence
C.S. Lewis in his second letter to me at Oxford, asked how it was that I, as a product of a materialistic universe, was not at home there. 'Do fish complain of the sea for being wet? Or if they did, would that fact itself not strongly suggest that they had not always been, or would not always be, purely aquatic creatures? Then, if we complain of time and take such joy in the seemingly timeless moment, what does that suggest? It suggests that we have not always been or will not always be purely temporal creatures. It suggests that we were created for eternity. Not only are we harried by time, we seem unable, despite a thousand generations, even to get used to it. We are always amazed by it-how fast it goes, how slowly it goes, how much of it is gone. Where, we cry, has the time gone? We aren't adapted to it, not at home in it. If that is so, it may appear as a proof, or at least a powerful suggestion, that eternity exists and is our home.