Essay: Ars Poetica (Archibald Macleish)

1916 words - 8 pages

The narrator of Ars Poetica conveys an insightful discourse on poetry. It comprises the narrator’s impression, interwoven with certain elements of poetry, on what a poem should be and how it should be interpreted. This will be explored though analysis of the structure and interpretation of the language used in the poem to state what the narrator’s view on poetry comprises and how it translates to the reader.If the Latin title of the poem is translated into English it would mean “The Art of Poetry” or “On the Nature of Poetry” (Anon, Ars Poetica). The title is borrowed from the treatise on poetics, Epistula Ad Pisones, authored by Horace in the first century A. D. (Anon, Ars Poetica). Ars Poetica (Anon: 2008) further states that Ben Johnson identified three conclusive quotes when he translated the original work: The first quote, "bonus dormitat Homerus" ("even Homer nods") indicates that poets can make continuity errors. The second quote, "ut pictura poesis" ("as is painting so is poetry") means that poetry equally conveys interpretation and subsequently meaning equal to or similar to art. The third quote, "in medias res" ("into the middle of things") describes an archaic narrative technique.The topography of the poem strongly resembles the structure of a ballade and an ode. The lines in the poem are divided into three stanzas consisting of eight lines each (Anon, Ballade). It is thus a ballade. If the reader applies the theory of an ode obtained from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Anon, Ode), the first stanza assumes the role of the strophe, the second stanza the antistrophe and the last stanza is the epode. It is important to note that the poem does not exclusively ascribe to all the characteristics of neither an ode nor a ballade: The poem lacks an ode’s characteristic refrain at the end of each stanza whilst the structure of the poem lacks the typical, consistent metre and specific rhyme scheme associated with a ballade. With reference to the title, the reader can assume that two revered classical poetic forms – the ballade and ode – are combined to demonstrate poetic skill, but more importantly to indicate a modernised version of a classical approach to poetic structure (Anon, Ars Poetica).The infused structure of the ballade and ode focus attention on the second stanza where most of the deviations in the poem occur. These deviations serve to illustrate a compelling purpose. According to In medias res (Anon, In medias res), the In medias res technique reveals the story only from the middle of the narrative structure. When the reader considers the second stanza, the In medias res technique is clearly revealed as the narrator starts to tell a story in the middle of the poem which concludes in the second-last couplet of the last stanza: The narrator describes the motion of the moon’s cycle from when the “moon climbs”, then “releases” the “night-entangled trees”...


The Pope and Blackmore Feud Essay

918 words - 4 pages mocking a biblical text, so he understood the backlash he would receive from critics like Blackmore. By writing such a blasphemous poem, if he intended to publish it or not, Pope was asking for trouble, which places the blame entirely on his shoulders. Peri Bathous is a mock Ars Poetica, or Art of Poetry, a parodic treatise on how not to write poetry. It is a humorous inversion of Longinus's classical treatise, Peri Hupsous: or, The Art of the

Ogden Nash: An Amazing Poet Essay

732 words - 3 pages that he was a master of light verse. Archibald MacLeish contests that, saying that his poetry is so much more than that. Sure, some of his poems are light and humorous, like The Cow: “The cow is of the bovine ilk; / One end is moo, the other, milk.” Or The Fly: “God in his wisdom made the fly / And then forgot to tell us why.” But there are other poems that show real insight that is true in the world, like the last two lines of Possessions Are

Alexander Pope

1736 words - 7 pages , Ovid, and Lucretius, and used some of the literary types that the Romans used, such as epic, satire, and epistle.) Regarding the more important of the poems through 1717, An Essay on Criticism was the last and best of a long series of poems on literary theory and practice in Italy, France, and England during the Renaissance and the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the more or less distant origin of which was Horace's Ars Poetica (c

Poets During the 17th and 18th Centuries

3732 words - 15 pages ;seq=178>. Damrosch, David, and Kevin J. H. Dettmar, eds. Masters of British Literature. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. 144-45, 162. Print. Hoeveler, Diane Long. "Joanna Baillie And The Gothic Body: Reading Extremities In Orra and De Monfort." Gothic Studies 3.2 (2001): 117. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Dec 2013. Horace. "Ars Poetica." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: W. W. Norton & Company

A Critical Note on New Historicism

3099 words - 13 pages , Quintillian and Longinus are the authentic and penetrating critics of this period. Horace’s Ars Poetica and Longinus’s On Sublime like Aristotle’s Poetics have proved as torch bearers, and their merits and utility have been acknowledged by all the major literary figures. Renaissance Criticism: With the advent of Renaissance, the critical curiosity accelerates and the enquiry of the antique Greek and Roman founders of creative and critical business

The Didactic Expressiveness of Art

3116 words - 12 pages he smoked hookah which is not much popular in the English culture.The other part of the issues of life concerned with criticizing different aspects, such as politics and authority, belong to a different theory defied in the earlier mentioned definition of art. This other theory is that art should instruct first and then delight as Horace indicates in his Ars Poetica, "Mix pleasure with profit, and you are safe" (The Maxims of Horace), he believes

Kubla Khan

5819 words - 23 pages fallen man's yearning to recover the lost Paradise. What, then, shall we say of Kubla Khan? -- that it has too much meaning, or too many meanings, or (perhaps) no meaning at all? Grammatici certant et adhuc sub iudice lis est: critics dispute, and the case is still before the courts (Horace, Ars Poetica, 78). In the circumstances, I will not presume to render a verdict, but merely to offer some advice. Literary criticism has more and

The Rich Diversity of Meanings of the Pardoner's Tale

5636 words - 23 pages substance of the Pardoner’s message is never questioned by his audience, only the truth of the Pardoner. The Pardoner, his Prologue, and his Tale are evocative emotionally, spiritually, morally, aesthetically, and as literature. The only certainty we can claim about the Pardoner is that his presence and story provoke a strong response. Koff states “I can think of no other ars poetica that links art and its use, its social value and its morality

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub-plots in Hamlet

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras, and

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Similar Essays

Ars Poetica By Archibald Mac Leish Essay

1534 words - 6 pages “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.” Spoken like the artistic genius he was, Shakespeare provides an excellent example of how the world used to speak. Another example, which shall be noted as the inspiration of this paper, would be Ars Poetica by Archibald MacLeish. In this poem, he explains how he thinks a poem should be: “A poem should not mean But be.” This last line from the poem basically says that a poem should be more important than

Ars Poetica Vs Dream Deferred Essay

533 words - 2 pages them is fufillment. Similarly, Ars Poetica states "A poem should not mean but be" in this, Archibald Macleish defines poems as a non-literal mean of describing in detail. Dreams and fulfillment and the notion of vagueness for description both clash as similar. In one persons dream it may be possible they wish for a specific house, yet no dream can be perfectly recreated. Just as the dream house is vague, it may prove to be an approximate

The Road Not Taken Essay

673 words - 3 pages To Be or Not to Be"To be or not to be, that is the question." Shakespeare's infamous line illustrates one of the most important aspects of poetry, essence over meaning. Many literary critics believe that a good poem must not only give a meaning, but also give an experience as well. Archibald MacLeish states in his poem "Ars Poetica" that "A poem should not mean/ But be." MacLeish's assertion demonstrates the view of many writers that poetry must

"The Nervous Liberals: Propaganda Anxieties From World War I To The Cold War" By Mr. Gary.

1600 words - 6 pages , 232) Gary helps his readers by breaking down information into a great visual aide. Throughout chapter four, "Mobilizing the Intellectual Arsenal of Democracy: Archibald MacLeish and the Library of Congress", Gary spends as little time on Archibald MacLeish as possible. I do not know why, seeing that he was the antifascist. From past history classes, I know that he combated all forms of fascism by use of his poems and essays. Gary mentions