In the essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent” Eliot expresses the idea that it is important to separate the poet from the poem. He expresses this by stating, “Honest criticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poet but upon the poetry”. Eliot is arguing that if critics consider the poet’s personal life they begin to judge the personal politics of the poet. The goal he says is to focus on what the poem is saying. Given what we know about William Butler Yeats’ past involving Maud Gonne it would be very easy for us to associate the poet and speaker of the poem in “Never give all the heart”. I believe separating the poet from the poem is one way to read the poem but not the only one. This is not to say critics or people reading it should criticize the poet’s life when they are criticizing the poem. More so, I believe they should consider the life of the poet because it may in fact reveal one more character that you could assign to the speaker when reading the poem. Some critics would say Maud Gonne influenced the majority of Yeats’ poetry by being the one woman he always longed to have but never could. Perhaps Yeats’ gave “all the heart” and perhaps he did not. Nonetheless it gives us one more perspective to how the poem can be read.

Advertisements