Letter: Gibran defended

Sir: Your critic Ruth Brandon in reviewing biographies of the mysterious Kahlil Gibran ("Priest in a parish of rich women", 5 August), makes the common mistake of judging the worth of what a man or woman says or achieves with regard to their personal conduct - the same egregious error that may unseat the most effective president that the Americans have elected since Roosevelt.

No doubt if we got our just deserts we would all deserve whipping but let she who is without sin strike the first blow. As Sir George Pickering remarked in another context, any serious attempt at creative work is worth more than all the destructive criticism than can be made of it.

That much of what Kahlil had to say can no doubt be classed as platitudinous merely demonstrates that he had arrived at new ways of stating old truths - the most that any ordinary poet can aspire to, and surely preferable to the pointless mishmash of incoherent images that characterises most of the modern verse printed by The Independent.