Talking back: the role of poets and poems in literary conversation
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Concluding paragraph: "In discovering the expansive history of poetic conversation and poetic influence, the question of authenticity now seems irrelevant. Authenticity may now be described as the extent to which a poem or poet takes on its predecessors, either intentionally or not, and creates new work within the context of the ongoing conversation. It is neither total conformity, nor is it total retaliation. The influence that old poems have on new (and, as we�??ve discussed, vice versa) is all-encompassing. The only way to avoid poetic influence in the conversation is to remain silent, or create nothing at all. However, we have found that it is in the creation that poems become not only catalysts of influence, but also themselves become influencers, and the cycle continues. Whether a poet contradicts, expands upon, or enlightens a former or future poet, the success is in the creating, and in keeping the conversation alive."