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, in simple terms he sees it they usually don't. he isn't one of many refrain. " -- Walt Whitman, from the preface to Leaves of GrassPoetry has constantly given upward thrust to interpretation, judgment, and controversy. certainly, the heritage of poetry feedback is as wealthy and sundry a trip because the heritage 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 severe "call and response": the works are extraordinary examples of ways the best poets themselves have written on poetics and the works in their friends and predecessors -- revealing, within the approach, 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 serious essays ever written, vintage Writings on Poetry is the 1st significant anthology of feedback dedicated solely to poetry. starting with a survey of the historical past of poetics and supplying 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, ultimately, on the modernist sensibility of "Poetic fact and demanding Unreality," through Laura (Riding) Jackson. For somebody attracted to the paintings and artifice of poetry, vintage Writings on Poetry is a trip worth taking.

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At all events we are well aware that poetry being such as we have described is not to be regarded seriously as attaining to the truth; and he who listens to her, fearing for the safety of the city which is within him, should be on his guard against her seductions and make our words his law. Yes, he said, I quite agree with you. Yes, I said, my dear Glaucon, for great is the issue at stake, greater than appears, whether a man is to be good or bad. And what will any one be profited if under the influence of honor or money or power, aye, or under the excitement of poetry, he neglect justice and virtue?

They add also that the Dorian word for “doing” is dq␣˜ m, and the Athenian, pqa´ss⑀ im. This may suffice as to the number and nature of the various modes of imitation. part iv Poetry in general seems to have sprung from two causes, each of them lying deep in our nature. First, the instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being that he is the 36 aristotle most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons; and no less universal is the pleasure felt in things imitated.

Part viii Unity of plot does not, as some persons think, consist in the unity of the hero. For infinitely various are the incidents in one man’s life which cannot be reduced to unity; and so, too, there are many actions of one man out of which we cannot make one action. Hence the error, as it appears, of all poets who have composed a Heracleid, a Theseid, or other poems of the kind. They imag- Poetics 41 ine that as Heracles was one man, the story of Heracles must also be a unity. But Homer, as in all else he is of surpassing merit, here too—whether from art or natural genius—seems to have happily discerned the truth.

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