Dealing with reviews… the Robert Graves way

I’ve been reading poetry by Robert Graves recently, an anthology bought on impulse because of his war poetry. I knew little about his other works. Robert Graves‘Tilth’ stands out because of the inspiration, as follows:-
From a review in a New York critical weekly: “Robert Graves, the British veteran, is no longer in the poetic swim. He still resorts to traditional metres and rhyme, and to such out-dated words as tilth; withholding his 100% approbation also from contemporary poems that favour sexual freedom.”

Gone are the drab monosyllabic days
When ‘agricultural labour’ still was tilth;
And ‘100% approbation’, praise;
And ‘pornographic modernism’, filth
Yet still I stand by tilth and filth and praise.

Now that is how to answer the critics with style!

Robert Graves

‘Selected Poems’ by Robert Graves [Faber] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
How to deal with reviews… the Robert Graves way #poetry via @SandraDanby


  1. Robert Graves always considered his poetry to be his main work and his other writing just a means of making enough money to live on. He dissed his books I, Claudius and Claudius the God as “potboilers” but they are both a terrific read. His autobiography about his education and war years, Goodbye to All That is also wonderful, especially as he loves name-dropping all his famous friends, such as TE Lawrence. I would recommend all his writing, including his elegant retellings of the Greek Myths.