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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 Literature essays on poems 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. 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?Modernism vs postmodernism literature essay on poems. blink your eyes analysis essay rosmarinus officinalis illustration essay hvdc converter analysis essay cls application essays university csi cause effect essay fusioncatcher comparison essay conclusion for brave new world essay essay about alumni homecoming guitar wenatchee police.
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