Can a poet be an absolutist?

You would think a poet would likely be a man or woman accustomed to nuance. Would he also be unlikely to see moral issues in absolute terms? Would he see more shades of rightness instead of someone or something being absolutely right or absolutely wrong?

For instance, Finn is a captain in the Union Army, part of the occupying force in New Orleans, 1862. He likes to write poetry, is attuned to beauty, likes word play. Is it also credible that he retains a rather naïve moral sense?

He’s young. He believes in abolition. He voted for Lincoln. He deplores his cousins’ decision to join the Confederacy. Makes no allowance for the cousins’ being native Carolinians who might justifiably argue for preserving their home. He’d likewise be totally intolerant of deceit.

Can a poet be that sure of what’s right and wrong? Maybe I just have a romanticized view of poets. Could a poet be mean? Oh – Ezra Pound was reputedly quite a stinker. Was even implicated in Nazism. That was certainly an absolutist stance.

I think ol’ Finn is coming together. He’s bookish and naïve. He loves words, ideas, beauty. He deplores any deviation from what’s Right. His journey through the novel (Evermore – I’m nearly finished, just trying to make Finn more interesting) will be to a more mature understanding of the world. Not all blacks and whites. Lots of extenuating circumstances need to be paid heed to. Still uphold his principles, like abolition, but maybe be forgiving of what he’d have once seen as unacceptable.

Thanks for thinking it through with me. I think you’re going to like Evermore.

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About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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