Buy Study Guide While on its surface, " Ars Poetica " is quite simple, there are many complexities in the poem that the reader will have to grapple with to understand its essence. The title of the poem is borrowed from Horace a lyric poet of ancient Rome , and it means "the art of poetry. As a modernist manifesto, the poem does not really adhere to any one set of conventions, but alternates in its use of rhyme, meter, syntax, punctuation and grammar. According to the speaker, a poem should be sensory and concrete, as well as silent, like a round fruit.
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Ars Poetica Analysis Sound Check "Ars Poetica" spares no expense when it comes to blending the more classical conventions of poetry with the more modern. In the beginning it sounds mighty conventional with perfect couplets and poignant similes all about the art of poetry.
Check out the first three stanzas for a refresher. It sounds open and free just like that "flight of birds" that lifts us out of the humdrum physical world of "words" and meanings.
So the title very simply relates to us the "Art of Poetry" in all its elusiveness and mystery. So, the title pays homage to Horace while also simply stating what the poem is "about. Instead, he lets us know that a poem should "be" rather than "mean. Setting Where are we in "Ars Poetica"? Who knows?
Hey, so can poetry. Since the moon is visible everywhere on earth and it usually looks all groovy and otherworldly floating in the sky, we kind of feel like all of these images reflect the mystery of poetry and life. And good poetry should seek to do the same, according to our speaker. What does matter is that he sounds like a fairy godfather of modern poetry, and we say that with the utmost respect, of course.
Far from it. But he does sound, as we mentioned, not of this world. His voice lifts us out of those "entangled trees" and gets us closer to that moon climbing in the sky, just like the good poetry he speaks of.
All the "motionless in time" talk only adds to his otherworldly metaphysical voice. Instead, he kind of floats above us while managing to hopefully lift us up with him into the "art of poetry. Our man did a lot of his best writing during the first World War, and in his work you often get the sense of MacLeish trying to blend the ideal with the real. In other words, things back then looked awfully confusing and disconcerting, but MacLeish still had a drive to at least imagine a more ideal world in his poetry.
And how did he often depict and talk about the ideal? In the form of art, of course. His poems therefore tend to sound mighty metaphysical and rely on imagery more than anything else, like that in "Ars Poetica. You might also hear a lot of talk about the soul and spirit, again sounding mighty metaphysical.
And since most of the couplets are in perfect rhyme , we might feel compelled to dig deeper for a particular meter. After all, classical poetry was all about form and meter. But the assumptions stop there.
So MacLeish has managed to create a poem that is a kind of paradox of itself, appearing to go one way, but then juking out the reader and veering off in another direction. And since MacLeish was a modern poet, we had to expect that the guy was digging the whole free verse trend. After all, if he had written the poem with a particular form and meter in mind, how can we really take the words, "a poem should not mean but be," very seriously?
One minute we have perfect couplets like, "dumb" and "thumb" and the next we have slant rhymes like "releases" and "trees" Then by the very end, our speaker throws in another kind of alternating rhyme between lines , rhyming "sea" in line 22 with "be" in line Overall, we get the balance of the more classical conventions of poetry with the more imperfect and freer innovations of modern poetry. And in the end, none of it really matters once we understand that a poem, no matter what, must "be" instead of "mean.
But once we think a little more about the notion of a poem "being" without "meaning," the whole silence motif makes a bit more sense. Lines A poem should be "silent" like those casement ledges all worn by too much elbow action. So it should be natural and effortless in a way, not trying to resist time or be consumed by it.
Lines A poem should be "wordless" too like a "flight of birds. Motionless in Time Our speaker tends to get a bit metaphysical and otherworldly on us when he talks about time. So to be "motionless in time" gives us the impression of being above and beyond all the physical stuff. So we know that magical moon climbing effortlessly above us is a good simile for the timelessness of good poetry.
It has to rise like the moon way above the physical and personal stuff. True but not "True" Yes, we know all of the paradoxes in "Ars Poetica" can make a guy feel like a hamster on a wheel. And that truth rests not in math equations of "equaling" something, but rather it rests on forgetting about all that "meaning" stuff, and instead focusing on "being.
Ars Poetica Analysis
Ars Poetica Analysis Sound Check "Ars Poetica" spares no expense when it comes to blending the more classical conventions of poetry with the more modern. In the beginning it sounds mighty conventional with perfect couplets and poignant similes all about the art of poetry. Check out the first three stanzas for a refresher. It sounds open and free just like that "flight of birds" that lifts us out of the humdrum physical world of "words" and meanings. So the title very simply relates to us the "Art of Poetry" in all its elusiveness and mystery. So, the title pays homage to Horace while also simply stating what the poem is "about. Instead, he lets us know that a poem should "be" rather than "mean.
Ars Poetica - Poem by Archibald MacLeish
In the world of modern poetry, Archibald MacLeish is equally unparalleled in his poetry, blending the ideal with the real, the classical with the modern, and meaning with "being. Way before MacLeish and his modernist pals, Horace was writing about the timelessness of poetry and that poems ought to be "brief and lasting. They should just be, rather than mean. So, MacLeish takes some of these classical ideas about poetry and makes them his own in his version of "Ars Poetica. How can you write a poem without words? It seems the point the speaker is trying to make for us is that poetry should exist in a more metaphysical other worldly realm that transcends trite definitions and meanings.
Ars Poetica Summary and Analysis of Ars Poetica
Born in Illinois in , MacLeish studied law primarily, in his youth- attending such lauded institutions as Yale and Harvard Law. However, before he could begin practicing, America became embroiled in the conflicts of the first world war. After returning home from service in the war, MacLeish worked briefly as a lawyer in Boston , but resented the time it took from the poetry he was beginning to create, and decided to switch focus to solely poetry, moving his family to France to pursue the matter. A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit, As old medallions to the thumb, Silent as the sleeve-worn stone Of casement ledges where the moss has grown— A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds. A poem should be equal to: Not true. For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.