In a speech in Buenos Aires on August 28, 1947, Witold Gombrowicz sets fire to one of the most long-established and untouchable lineage of men: poets. And furthermore, he makes it with reason on his side. That is, he does not fear the role of agitators of the spirit which Plato assigned to them, he does not believe that poetry is tragically doomed to misunderstanding and lack of "high spirits" that know how to appreciate it either, but rather speaks, I almost state that after a long yawn, of an "aristocratic inscrutability", filled with perfection to the dregs. And with such perfection, so why the attack? This paragraph is substantial to understand the central point of his text:
"Why do I not like pure poetry? For the same reasons I do not like sugar "pure". You love it when you have it along with coffee, but no one would eat a bowl of sugar: it would be too much. It is excess what tires in poetry: poetry excess, excess of poetic words, excess of metaphors, excess of nobility, excess of refinement and condensation which liken verses to a chemical".
Gombrowicz interrogates Poetry in person grabbing it by the lapels. He talks about the excesses that may lead to blind devotion to the form, without a single bond linking it with men, without the balance that is essential to any good style:
"This balance based on compensation and antinomy is the foundation of all good style, but it cannot be found in the poems, and it neither can be seen in modern prose influenced by the spirit of poetry. Books such as
The Death of Virgil, by Hermann Broch, or even the celebrated Joyce''s
Ulysses are impossible to read as they are too "artistic". Everything there is perfect, deep, great, high and, at the same time, nothing interests us because their authors did not write it for us but for the God of Art
Gombrowicz curiously named, with all its letters, that sense of endless boredom which overcame me when I read Joyce''s Ulysses and some other texts or poems of, sometimes, unquestionable pedigree. Excess of perfection. Without those drops of blood old Zorba talked about in Kazantzakis'' novel. An experience I do not recommend to anyone. Because in the end it all comes to Time: who will give us back that time spent fruitlessly in certain works of art?