Quotation by Stephen Spender

Both Hopkins and Lawrence were religious not just in the ritualistic sense but in the sense of being obsessed with the word—the word made life and truth—with the need to invent a language as direct as religious utterance. Both were poets, but outside the literary fashions of their time. Both felt that among the poets of their time was an absorption in literary manners, fashions and techniques which separated the line of the writing from that of religious truth. Both felt that the modern situation imposed on them the necessity to express truth by means of a different kind of poetic writing from that used in past or present. Both found themselves driven into writing in a way which their contemporaries did not understand or respond to yet was inevitable to each in his pursuit of truth. Here of course there is a difference between Hopkins and Lawrence, because Hopkins in his art was perhaps over-worried, over-conscientious, whereas Lawrence was an instinctive poet who, in his concern for truth, understood little of the problems of poetic form, although he held strong views about them.
Stephen Spender (1909–1995), British poet, critic. The Struggle of the Modern, pt. 2, ch. 3, University of California Press (1963).
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