Poe was waxing on and on about what makes something a poem. He did have some interesting ideas to ponder on.
In literature there are shifts in taste that are too successful, ideas that triumph too completely, arguments that become so widely accepted among poets and critics that they are no longer argued for, but instead appear to be common sense.
These ideas spread throughout the literary culture, shaping poems without their authors being fully aware of why their works take a certain form or why some ways of writing seem to be modern or natural while others seem artificial or outdated.
The ultimate effect of these received ideas may be benign or malignant, leading to the writing of good or bad poems, but they always limit poetry by forcing it into certain directions to the exclusion of others.
Due to their influence promising projects are laid aside or left undeveloped, and worthy poems that fail to conform to the prevailing biases are ignored or ridiculed until a later generation comes along to resurrect them. When it first appeared, it must have seemed like an original, though curious and contrarian, work.
It may seem strange to attribute the typical modern poem to Poe, whose own poetry does not resemble the short, confessional lyric in the least.
Other revolutions would establish free verse, colloquial language, and confessional subject matter as the basis for the majority of American verse. But it was Poe who first argued for the superiority of the short poem, denied the worth of any long poem not constructed as a series of linked fragments, and tilted the subject matter of poetry toward the impressionistic lyric.
A suspicion of the long poem. Intensity as the sole effect of a poem. Poe regards intensity as the key to aesthetic judgement.
After a lapse of half an hour, at the very utmost, it flags — fails — a revulsion ensues — and then the poem is, in effect, and in fact, no longer such. The elevation of Beauty over Truth.
The dominance of the lyric. He owns it in all noble thoughts, in all unworldly motives, in all holy impulses, in all chivalrous, generous, and self- sacrificing deeds. The subjects of nature and love push poetry toward the lyric. Over time, these ideas have become accepted as the proper way to write a poem, in effect determining the poetic landscape.
In other words, poetry has been reduced to a variety of shorter lyrical forms and longer poems conceived as a series of connected lyrics, precisely those forms championed by Poe.
For Expansive poets, the restriction of sensibility that Poe pioneered has been a disaster. The five principles that I have summarized above helped banish the satire, epic, folk ballad, light verse, and witty epigram from the poetic canon.
The narrative long poem, in spite of its distinguished history of both popular and critical success, also disappeared with the rise of the shorter lyric. By sacrificing the very short and long poem, Poe has restricted the possible range of poetry. While some poems do produce a feeling of intensity, many do not.
Light verse, for example, cannot be described as intense, and the pastoral and verse epistle strive for other effects.
Juvenalian satire may be intense, but Horatian satire aims for urbanity and wit. Verse comedies are, for the most part, alien to feelings of intensity since laughter tends to dissipate tension rather than to increase it. In fact, only a few of the recognizable modes of poetry have intensity as their proper aim.
Nor is it clear that a unity of impression is desirable. In fact, denying the ability of an author to vary the mood and intensity within a work would destroy some of the greatest scenes in literature. Few readers would want to view these scenes as shorter, independent poems to maintain their unity of impression.
The contrast, they intuit, is the secret of their power.Mar 18, · the poetic principle. BY THE LATE EDGAR A. POE. [F ROM advance sheets of the new volume by Mr.
Poe, in the press of Mr. Redfield, we present the following admirable essay embodying the critic’s theory of poetry. Edgar Allan Poe (), American poet, critic, short story writer, and author of such macabre works as “The Fall of the House of Usher” (); I looked upon the scene before me - upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye-like windows - upon a few rank sedges - and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees - with.
The poetry of Edgar Allan Poe has had a rough ride in America, as Emerson’s sneering quip about “The Jingle Man” testifies.
That these poems have never lacked a popular audience has been a persistent annoyance in academic and literary circles; that they attracted the admiration of innovative poetic masters in Europe and especially France―notably Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Valéry―has.
Poe Museum; Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, – October 7, ) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre.
One of the most influential – and therefore one of the most dangerous – essays in American literature is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Poetic Principle.”. /> Your browser does not support the audio element.
Audio: Many people consider Edgar Allan Poe to be one of the finest literary critics of his time.