Make a case for or against the study of popular verse Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 5 July 2017

Make a case for or against the study of popular verse

In order to understand the importance of poetry we first need to answer the question what is poetry? In reading a poem for its message, critics often appear to be saying that poems ‘really’ mean something different form what they appear to mean, and may of us are often led to assume that the interpretation of a text is a matter of finding its ‘hidden meaning’. Poetry can be defined as genre by saying that it is different form other main literary genres, fiction and dramas. A second definition based on features of language distinguishes between the way poetry and so called ordinary uses of language.

A third definition would differentiate poetry from prose on the basis that it is arranged differently on the page. Poetry means different things to different people and the way readers relate to poetry depends on the individual itself. One of the most obvious distinctions between poetry and most non-poetic discourses is that poetry is set out on the page in lines, whereas prose runs right to the far edge. There are different genres within poetry that signify why the study of poetry is important.

Romantic readings of literary texts tend to focus on questions about sincerity of feeling, emotional response, and profundity of insight. These readings will trigger different emotions in readers, as they will relate what they read to their own experiences. They relate these poems with tears, laughter and love. A particularly rewarding and challenging way of reading poetry is the careful analysis of the interplay between the language and form of individual poems. Although many readers say that a poem ought to be enjoyed for its own sake, the critical reading of poetry involves trying to understand how that pleasure is produced.

Poems achieve their emotional power by working the resources of the language to the limit. It could be argued that poetry represents real life. It tells about believes and about social issues for example some poems talk about racism and inequality in society. Some talk about God and his existence. It is important to note that these views are written from an individual point of view and although it does not give a clear view of what the society it was trying to represent was like it does give the reader an idea. Looking at poetry as a response to the reader it is difficult to explain.

The assumptions that poetry is the expression of intense personal experience usually involve a related assumption about what we are supposed to do when we read such a poem. As stated above the response depends upon the individual reader. Some might find that that they feel sympathetic towards the poet’s intense feelings or experience the speaker’s sense of loss etc. Some of the most deep rooted preconceptions about poetry in our culture are that it records profound personal emotion and experience, that is often about nature, and that it should be imaginative.

The way that poems are articulated and experiences told with powerful and deep emotions that makes the poetry so inspiring and joyful to read. Also from studying poetry the reader is encouraged to write poetry and meaningful experiences with other people. John Barrel has argued that we ought to ask questions of poems which have been neglected under New Criticism’s influence: ‘when it was written, whom it addressed, what was the function of any particular literary activity- writing epic poems, reading novels- at any particular period or for any particular kind of reader’.

In other words he is proposing that poems need to be regarded as discursive acts produced within specific institutions and discursive networks. The major implication with this theory of discourse is that the poems need to be understood not in terms of uniquely individual thought of its author but in terms of the general belief system of the period as it adapted to historical circumstance. In conclusion poetry is not one thing but many things. This is not only because we have different ways of describing things.

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  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 July 2017

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