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. It should be unthinking or natural, like a person playing with a medallion in their hand. The poem should be as silent as a window ledge overgrown with moss.
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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. As will be made clear throughout the text, the metaphors chosen by the poet often carry double meanings.
The same goes for each couplet. One might have a grasp of what the first line is trying to say but the second often confuses, and then enriches the image. It does nothing but present its words, the reader does all the rest.
The poem is something which can be taken, carried away and enjoyed but is unable to truly speak for itself. They remain silent while a reader delves into their depths. It has been there for a long time undisturbed. It should be universally recognizable, like a bird in flight and just as awe-inspiring to witness.
A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs, Leaving, as the moon releases Twig by twig the night-entangled trees, Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves, Memory by memory the mind— A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs.
As was previously mentioned, the poem should remain the same to all people, no matter who they are or where they are from. A poem should be equal to: Not true. For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea— A poem should not mean But be. In the last eight lines of this piece the speaker makes even larger, more sweeping statements about what poetry is. It should not try to be one particular thing or share an infallible truth. The next two couplets present the reader with ways a poem can relate to life without directly speaking on it. The final couplet sums up what it is about poetry the speaker feels is important.
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Ars Poetica - Poem by Archibald MacLeish
He then goes on to stress the idea of a poem being "wordless as a flight of birds. A poem should also avoid so-called truths. It should be without the histories and grief of mankind, but also for it. In addition, it should be "for love" and "two lights above the sea. Section 1 A poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit, Ah, our speaker wastes no time creating the perfect paradox of what a poem "should be. But if we put the idea in context with the subject, we can kind of make sense of it. But wait.
Ars Poetica Analysis
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.
The poem begins with the speaker declaring that a poem should be "mute" and silent," moving the reader with its impressions without trying to embody meaning. Such a natural poetic impression is compared to the effortlessness and organic movement of "the flight of birds. Analysis The first four stanzas, evoke two main ideas. One could also argue that as a modernist manifesto, MacLeish believes the poem should literally become an object. Ironically, by setting up this poem as a manifesto, MacLeish is doing the opposite of what he is calling for. The next stanza is composed of couplets with an extended moon simile, which expresses the paradox of what a good poem does.