By William Harmon
The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents attractiveness. 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 entire in himself.... the others are pretty much as good as he, purely he sees it and so they don't. he's not one of many refrain. " -- Walt Whitman, from the preface to Leaves of GrassPoetry has continuously given upward thrust to interpretation, judgment, and controversy. certainly, the historical past of poetry feedback is as wealthy and sundry a trip because the historical past of poetry itself. yet vintage writings equivalent 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 amazing examples of the way the best poets themselves have written on poetics and the works in their friends and predecessors -- revealing, within the technique, a lot in regards to the thought and keenness in the back of their very own works. Spanning millions of years and together with thirty-three of the main influential severe essays ever written, vintage Writings on Poetry is the 1st significant anthology of feedback dedicated completely to poetry. starting with a survey of the background of poetics and delivering an creation and short biography for every studying, 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 incorporated, as is an excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's verse novel Aurora Leigh, arriving, eventually, on the modernist sensibility of "Poetic fact and significant 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 worth taking.
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Extra info for Classic Writings on Poetry
Be that as it may, Tragedy—as also Comedy—was at first mere improvisation. The one originated with the authors of the Dithyramb, the other with those of the phallic songs, which are still in use in many of our cities. Tragedy advanced by slow degrees; each new element that showed itself was in Poetics 37 turn developed. Having passed through many changes, it found its natural form, and there it stopped. Aeschylus first introduced a second actor; he diminished the importance of the Chorus, and assigned the leading part to the dialogue.
And the same may be said of lust and anger and all the other affections, of desire and pain and pleasure, which are held to be inseparable from every action—in all of them poetry feeds and waters the passions instead of drying them up; she lets them rule, although they ought to be controlled, if mankind are ever to increase in happiness and virtue. I cannot deny it. Therefore, Glaucon, I said, whenever you meet with any of the eulogists of Homer declaring that he has been the educator of Hellas, and that he is profitable for education and for the ordering of human things, and that you should take him up again and again and get to know him and regulate your whole life according to him, we may love and honor those who say these things—they are excellent people, as far as their lights extend; and we are ready to acknowledge that Homer is the greatest of poets and first of tragedy writers; but we must remain firm in our conviction that hymns to the gods and praises of famous men are the only poetry which ought to be admitted into our State.
Of the remaining elements Song holds the chief place among the embellishments. The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet. 40 aristotle part vii These principles being established, let us now discuss the proper structure of the Plot, since this is the first and most important thing in Tragedy.
Classic Writings on Poetry by William Harmon