Monday, September 9, 2013

Flavorwire: 20 Poets on the Meaning of Poetry By Alison Nastasi

20 Poets on the Meaning of Poetry By Alison Nastasi 

We’ve been thinking about poet Meena Alexander’s incredible address to the Yale Political Union, in which she refers to Shelley’s 1821 essay, A Defence of Poetry. The English poet’s work famously stated, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Alexander concludes: “The poem is an invention that exists in spite of history… In a time of violence, the task of poetry is in some way to reconcile us to our world and to allow us a measure of tenderness and grace with which to exist… Poetry’s task is to reconcile us to the world — not to accept it at face value or to assent to things that are wrong, but to reconcile one in a larger sense, to return us in love, the province of the imagination, to the scope of our mortal lives.” Other poets have attempted to interpret “what is deeply felt and is essentially unsayable.” Here are a few brief definitions of poetry by famous poets.


edith
Edith Sitwell
“Poetry is the deification of reality.”
Marianne Moore
“Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.”
Theodore Roethke
“You must believe: a poem is a holy thing — a good poem, that is.”
“The poem, even a short time after being written, seems no miracle; unwritten, it seems something beyond the capacity of the gods.”
James K. Baxter
“The poem is a plank laid over the lion’s den.”

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