Poetry: Definition and Framework

1
What distinguishes the language of poetry from other languages is that poetry says more and says it more intensely. Poetry is the most condensed and concentrated form of literature

2
Literature is not written primarily to communicate information. It exists to bring us a sense and a perception of life, to widen and sharpen our contacts with existence. It is primarily concerned with experience.

3
Poetry as a whole is primarily concerned with all kinds of experiences – beautiful or ugly, strange or common, noble or ignoble, actual or imaginary.

4
The function of literature is not to tell us about experience, but to allow us imaginatively to participate in it

5
Two ways that literature achieves this function or by broadening and deepening our own experience.

6
Two false approaches to reading poetry that should be avoided are to always look for a lesson or a bit of moral instruction and to expect poetry to always be beautiful

Four questions a reader may ask to aid himself in understanding a poem
(a) Who is the speaker?
(b) What is the occasion?
(c) What is the central purpose?
(d) How is the central purpose achieved?

The five possible central purposes of a poem
(a) To tell a story
(b) to reveal human character
(c) to impart a vivid impression of a scene
(d) to express a mood or an emotion
(e) to convey vividly some idea or attitude

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