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Old 01-21-2008, 12:17 PM
John Hutchcraft John Hutchcraft is offline
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Hi, all. I have in mind a quote from Yeats that says something to the effect of, a poem should click shut at the end like the top of a well made box.

A Google search on "yeats poem click shut box" yields numerous versions of the phrase (many of them differing from each other, most of them in quotation marks) but none of the links that I've seen have cited where Yeats said this, and without that info it's hard to tell what the actual quote is.

Anyway, I'm planning to use the quotation in an essay I'm writing and I'd like to cite chapter and verse when I do it. Does anybody know from whence the quotation comes, and what Yeats really said?

Any help would be much obliged.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:18 PM
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Maryann Corbett Maryann Corbett is offline
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Interestingly, what I'm finding suggests that the original statement is not about the conclusions of poems but about knowing when they're finished. This is given as the full sentence from which the phrase is taken:

"The correction of prose, because it has no fixed laws, is endless, a poem comes right with a click like a closing box."

And while I can't find the whole letter quoted anywhere, more than one source says that it's from a letter of Yeats to his friend Dorothy Wellesley (sp? I can't just go back with my browser or I'll lose this post. Rats. I've forgotten the date too--maybe 1935?)

But this too is the result googling. Maybe we'll get where we need to be by piling up google results.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:45 PM
John Hutchcraft John Hutchcraft is offline
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Argh. I am a bad googler, apparently. Thanks, Maryann, for getting me going in the right direction . . .
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:47 PM
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Maryann Corbett Maryann Corbett is offline
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And here's a fuller citation, getting the date right:

Letters on Poetry from W. B. Yeats to Dorothy Wellesley. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1940, specifically, letter 24

That oughta do it (and of course you're welcome.)
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:07 PM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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John, Joe Kennedy paraphrased that in his intro to L and T, which you have read.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:45 AM
David Mason David Mason is offline
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If memory serves, the quote you require also appears in A General Introduction for my Work, reprinted in his Collected Essays and Introduction, or something like that....But memory does not always serve...

[This message has been edited by David Mason (edited January 22, 2008).]
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