Classic Writings on Poetry by William Harmon

By William Harmon

The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents good looks. he's a sovereign, and stands at the centre. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, from "The Poet""[The poet] is a seer.... he's individual... he's whole in himself.... the others are pretty much as good as he, simply he sees it they usually don't. he isn't one of many refrain. " -- Walt Whitman, from the preface to Leaves of GrassPoetry has regularly given upward thrust to interpretation, judgment, and controversy. certainly, the heritage of poetry feedback is as wealthy and sundry a trip because the background of poetry itself. yet vintage writings comparable to Emerson's essay "The Poet" and Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass function greater than a serious "call and response": the works are awesome examples of the way the best poets themselves have written on poetics and the works in their friends and predecessors -- revealing, within the method, a lot concerning the idea and keenness at the back of their very own works. Spanning millions of years and together with thirty-three of the main influential serious essays ever written, vintage Writings on Poetry is the 1st significant anthology of feedback dedicated completely to poetry. starting with a survey of the historical past of poetics and offering an advent and short biography for every examining, esteemed poet and critic William Harmon takes readers from Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Poetics to the Norse mythology of Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál. John Dryden's An Essay of Dramatic Poesy and Shelley's A Defence of Poetry are integrated, as is an excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's verse novel Aurora Leigh, arriving, eventually, on the modernist sensibility of "Poetic fact and demanding Unreality," by way of Laura (Riding) Jackson. For an individual attracted to the artwork and artifice of poetry, vintage Writings on Poetry is a trip really worth taking.

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Certainly. And we may further grant to those of her defenders who are lovers of poetry and yet not poets the permission to speak in prose on her behalf: let them show not only that she is pleasant but also useful to States and to human life, and we will listen in a kindly spirit; for if this can be proved we shall surely be the gainers—I mean, if there is a use in poetry as well as a delight? Certainly, he said, we shall be the gainers. If her defense fails, then, my dear friend, like other persons who are enamored of something, but put a restraint upon themselves when they think their desires are opposed to their interests, so too must we after the manner of lovers give her up, though not without a struggle.

The best form of recognition is coincident with a Reversal of the Situation, as in the Oedipus. There are indeed other forms. Even inanimate things of the most trivial kind may in a sense be objects of recognition. Again, we may recognize or discover whether a person has done a thing or not. But the recognition which is most intimately connected with the plot and action is, as we have said, the recognition of persons. This recognition, combined with Reversal, will produce either pity or fear; and actions producing these effects are those which, by our definition, Tragedy represents.

There is absolutely nothing of the kind. But, if Homer never did any public service, was he privately a guide or teacher of any? Had he in his lifetime friends who loved to associate with him, and who handed down to posterity an Homeric way of life, such as was established by Pythagoras who was so greatly beloved for his wisdom, and whose followers are to this day quite celebrated for the order which was named after him? Nothing of the kind is recorded of him. For surely, Socrates, Creophylus, the companion of Homer, that child of flesh, whose name always makes us laugh, might be more justly ridiculed for his stupidity, if, as is said, Homer was greatly neglected by him and others in his own day when he was alive?

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