What is Minor Poetry?

T. S. Eliot

Spring 1946

I do not propose to offer you, either at the beginning or at the end, a definition of "minor poetry." The danger of such a definition would be, that it might lead us to expect that we could settle, once for all, who are the "major" and who are the "minor" poets. Then, if we tried to make out two lists, one of major and one of minor poets in English literature, we should find that we agreed about a few poets for each list, that there would be more about which we should differ, and that no two people would produce quite the same lists: and what then would be the use of our definition? What I think we can do, however, is to take notice of the fact that when we speak of a poet as "minor," we mean different things at different times; we can make our minds a little clearer a

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