This short essay tries to get at what poetry is all about and what it can do for us.
This short essay tries to get at what poetry is all about and what it can do for us. Your comments on this or on anything else on this Web site, of course are welcome: An Essay on Poetry Steven C. Scheer According to the Judeo-Christian Bible, God created the world by means of words, by divine fiat.
He said "Let there be," and there was. So it was words that brought the world into existence in the first place, and it is words by means of human fiat, if you will that create our own worlds as well. For it is by means of words that we apprehend, categorize, and even think and feel and know our world.
We even interpret our most important experiences like falling in love in terms of the words our culture uses to talk about them. When I taught my composition courses in college, I presented my classes with two theories about the relationship between language and reality.
I called the one most people assume to be true the Expressive Theory, and I called the one I still think is true the Creative Theory.
According to both, of course, "things are what we say they are. What this simple scheme tells us is that words come before meaning, words give rise to meaning. But once words have given rise to meaning, it seems to most of us that meaning came before words.
Poetry is art by means of words. The word itself is of Greek origin and its etymological meaning is "making" to say that someone is a poet is to call him or her a "maker". This oldest of the human arts was born in song and dance. Rhythm and rhyme and reason go hand-in-hand when it comes to poetry.
Though the language of poetry is the language of emotions, it is not devoid of rationality either. In a good poem the head is the head of the heart, even as it is the heart that gives life to the head.
Trying to define poetry is probably a useless enterprise. The literature on it is vast. Most famous poets have written about it. For Alexander Pope, for example, the essence of it came from what "oft was thought but never so well expressed," for Wordsworth it was a matter of the "overflow of powerful feelings.
My own attempt at getting at the essence of poetry will be more humble: Whatever our human hearts and minds can contemplate or brood over or entertain pun intended? Poetry used to enjoy great popular appeal. This was especially evident in the nineteenth century.
In the second half of the twentieth century things began to change. Poetry seems to have gone to colleges and universities where it is nowadays only read in literature courses and, of course, in creative writing courses.
And if "hell is other people" - as Sartre would have it - how could other poets be the salvation of poetry? There is, of course, another way of looking at this: There is, of course, a good reason for this.
But it has a circuitous history.
Best Books on Writing Poetry Many books on writing poetry exist, but these are some of the best, the ones that deserve going back to again and again. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach by. Robin Behn (Editor) avg rating — 1, ratings. Aside from the charm, musicality, and memorability verse lends to poetry, we expect great poetry to display qualities of invention and imagination. The word "poet" means, in Greek, "maker." To the early Greeks the poet was a creator with singular gifts of inspiration, invention, and composition. This section collects famous historical essays about poetry that have greatly influenced the art. Written by poets and critics from a wide range of historical, cultural, and aesthetic perspectives, the essays address the purpose of poetry, the possibilities of language, and the role of the poet in the world.
In an oral culture repetitious and formulaic phrases aided and abetted memory. After the invention of writing, repetition and formulaic prose came slowly to be seen as hackneyed, as not truly responsive to realities thus, as even perhaps distortive of them. The same old same old deadens our senses and our perceptions, so that using the same old words for new feelings would render the new feelings prematurely old.
Poets use new metaphors or put things in new perspectives in an attempt to make us see and feel things as if for the first time. Of course, famous poems, poems that we love and perhaps even know by heart "knowing by heart" is an interesting phrase, is it not? Here repetition of what is fixed "formulaic" does not diminish our perceptions.
This may be a paradox. Or perhaps just the old-fashioned "test of time. Actually, this problem of poets not "telling it like it is" is intricately related to common phrases and expressions, too. There are innumerable common phrases and expressions in our languages that were once fresh as daisies but have become overused and worn out by time.The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets.
For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry. Complete list of over literary magazines with details Publish Your Writing. Writing Contests. Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets.
Able Muse predominantly publishes metrical poetry complemented by art and photography, fiction and non-fiction including essays, book reviews and interviews with a focus on metrical and formal poetry. The latest volume in the Poets on Poetry series collects 12 essays by the internationally acclaimed poet, translator, and critic Khaled Mattawa Format Publication year.
[tags: Poetry Analysis, poets, poems] Strong Essays words | ( pages) | Preview. The Life and Poetry of Edgar Allen Poe - Edgar Allan Poe was not your typical poet.
He had a very depressing life, and that has influenced the majority of his works. He was in the military, had his wife die prematurely, and had the constant struggles of life.
Best Books on Writing Poetry Many books on writing poetry exist, but these are some of the best, the ones that deserve going back to again and again.
The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach by. Robin Behn (Editor) avg rating — 1, ratings.