Poetry and Emotion: Romanticism Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility (William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800)
Poetry and Emotion: Modernism There are many people who appreciate the expression of sincere emotion in verse . But very few know when there is an expression of significant emotion, emotion which has its life in the poem and not in the history of the poet. The emotion of art is impersonal. (T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent (1921))
Poetry and Emotion: Modernism Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to escape from these things. (T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent (1921))
Larkin, The Pleasure Principle (1957) It is sometimes useful to remind ourselves of the simpler aspects of things normally regarded as complicated. Take, for instance, the writing of a poem. It consists of three stages: the first is when a man becomes obsessed with an emotional concept to such a degree that he is compelled to do something about it. What he does is the second stage, namely, construct a verbal device that will reproduce this emotional concept in anyone who cares to read it, anywhere, any time. The third stage is the recurrent situation of people in different times and places setting off the device and re-creating in themselves what the poet felt when he wrote it. The stages are interdependent and all necessary. If there has been no preliminary feeling, the device has nothing to reproduce and the reader will experience nothing. If the second stage has not been well done, the device will not deliver the goods, or will deliver only a few goods to a few people, or will stop delivering them after an absurdly short while. And if there is no third stage, no successful reading, the poem can hardly be said to exist in a practical sense at all.
Plath and Poetry I cannot sympathise with those cries from the heart that are informed by nothing except a needle or a knife. I believe that one should be able to control and manipulate experiences, even the most terrifying with an informed and intelligent mind (NAe, p. 2968)
Two main kinds of sonnet The Italian (Petrachan) sonnet: The octave: the statement of a problem, situation, or incident (abbaabba) The sestet: the resolution (e.g., cdecde) The English sonnet Shakespearean: Three quatrains: repetition with variation (abab cdcd efef) The couplet: the epigrammatic turn (gg) Spenserian: (abab bcbc cdcd ee)
Shakespeare, Sonnet 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress when she walks, treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.
Keats, Bright star, Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient, sleepless eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors No yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft swell and fall, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever or else swoon to death.
William Wordsworth "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802" Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty; This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!
Hardy, Hap If but some vengeful god would call to me From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing, Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy, That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!" Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die, Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited; Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I Had willed and meted me the tears I shed. But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain, And why unblooms the best hope ever sown? Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain, And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan.... These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.
The sixteen line sonnet Tony Harrison, The School of Eloquence