Poetry can be defined as a genre of art that has been in existence since the beginning of mankind. It has grown and evolved as the human beings grows, just like any other form of art has got different opinions depending on the people analyzing or even writing it. Differing opinions have been given on the perception of how poetry should be and the ideas it is conveying. Artists represent what they what happens in the society and perceive art to be a mirror of the society. Poetry has changed with time and is being influenced by the events that shape the society. It is not an art that can remain content in terms of ideas, and it always has to keep on changing. As human kind changes, so does poetry, as modernity takes shape in the society, poetry tends to shifts towards modernity. Poets also express their ideas through poetry, and they may have differing opinions on one idea. In understanding the message being delivered by a poet, the poet presents a theme and gives his/her opinion concerning the theme. Themes differed among poets with some having opposing views in a similar theme, some of the most common themes in poetry are love, governance and other social issues that affect the society. Poets will use different skill to present these themes, the language used, and styles affect the overall delivery of the themes. Poets who are able to effectively apply different styles in writing their poems are better understood and have a wider audience. Unless a poet understands the theme well, effective delivery cannot be made. Poetry is an art genre that is open to criticism; poets have developed their ideas and expertise in poetry through considering what critics have to say about their work of art. Some critics have admitted that poets see the society in a different perspective from the rest of the people. What seems to be a normal occurrence in the society cannot be termed as just normal by a poet; there will be always a poetry idea in it.
Some of the most famous poets are Raplh Waldo Emerson and Poe. The poets have got different opinions and ideas concerning poetry. Poe was a critic of Emerson’s work of poetry, and he often differed with his ideas. He referred to him as an individual who was not a royalist, classist and one who was not a Christian. These words convey the high level of criticism between these two people. Some of their most controversial works included “The Poet” by Emerson and “Philosophy of composition’s well as “The Poetic Principle “both by Poe. Most of the themes that were covered in the pieces of work were mainly issues that were being experienced in the 19th century. Poetry fanatics refer to Poe as a father of Decadentism, Symbolism and Aestheticism in poetry. The philosophy of composition was written by Poe to explain how he came up with the poem “The raven” which was one of his most famous poems. The philosophy of composition, Poe is against the argument that a composer of any work of art has got any prophetic inspiration. Any person who does poetry does not rely on any divine intervention to write poems. According to Poe the ability to write any form of art in literature depended on the ability of a person to think logically. It is more of creativity rather than a prophetic inspiration. Literature writing is a form of a technical job that involves a logic mind, a pen and paper. Anything that exists as new to Poe is a result of logical composition and the ability to link the new and the old. Poe expresses his ability to compose poems in this article. It describes what it takes for one to compose a poem.
In the philosophy of composition, Poe states that for a poem to effectively deliver its message there has to be unity in all the effects that are used. If there is no unity, the poem will not be effective to the target audience. The first thing before composing a poem is a consideration of the design and approach by the poet. The message cannot be delivered effectively if the design snow well outlined. Poetry cannot just be based on spontaneous feelings, and this is one of the key points why Poe is against Romanticism. The overall effects should be aimed to the reader, unless a poem captures the attention and emotions of the reader, cannot be classified as effective poetry. The reader is the end consumer of poetry and any artistic work, any style of element that has to be used in a poem has to work in unity in uniting the effects to the reader, disparity in the delivery within the elements will make the poem poor. Poe puts into consideration in the length of and clarifies that there are no long poems. Any poem that seems to be long is just a collection of different poems that are used to deliver one common message. Every work of poetry has one an effect of beauty towards the reader, and this should be brought about by the effects.
The second opinion by Poe is given in his work “The Poetic Principle”. He expounds on the poetry beauty. Beauty in a poem is what delivers the elevation of the soul. He argues that the quality of a poem is determined by its ability to elevate the soul. The principle is used to explain why there are no long poems that do exist. If a poem is long, it loses its ability to elevate the soul (Poe 68). Styles and moods in a poem should be able to smoothly flow without contradiction. In cases of the long poems, it would be difficult to ensure smooth flow of the mood presented by the styles. The features of a poem according to Poe include simplicity, coolness, preciseness and severity. Genuine poetry should have more emphasis on the beauty and not the truth. To support his argument Poe states that love is the best theme in any poem. Love elevates the human soul and gives the poem its artistic beauty. Poe insisted that art has the ability to connect people with the spirit, and this was one of the best ways to elevate the soul. Art should be a guide towards uniting the human soul with the spirits and arouse the human emotions. In conclusion, Poe defined a true poet as one who can be able to elevate the human soul and maintain the beauty of poetry. It all depends on creativity as the key factor (Hayes & Kevin 165).
Emerson also had his opinion on what defines a true poet. A poet according to Emerson is a person who can be able to express his thoughts into words. Just like in the poetic principle by Poe, Emerson agrees that poetry is an art that is based on creativity. Poet should have the ability to understand the symbolism and use it to deliver the message in a poem. Unlike Poe who believes that poetry should focus on elevation of the soul and using love as the main theme. Emerson has got a different opinion; he support the fact the poetry should be able to touch the human soul but not necessarily through using love as the main theme. Any poet who can be able to work on different themes can be able to touch the human soul can deliver the message effectively. A poet should be able to represent all humanity, and the length of a poem does not matter as long as the message is effectively delivered. He used syllogism to explain how beauty is connected to a poem. He defines that beauty is the creator of the universe and a poet is the man of the beauty, this being the case, the poet is therefore the creator of the universe. This differs with Poe’s opinion who defines a poet as one who is able to connect people with the beauty of the universe. The content of a poem according to Emerson is more valuable than the how it is written. Styles and used in poetry do not have much effect as the content has. One can be good in styles but poor in delivering the content. This opinion differs with Poe’s; Poe argues that style defines the overall message delivery and not the content (Emerson, Ralph, Ronald A, & Joel 87).
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Ronald A. Bosco, and Joel Myerson. The selected lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2005. Print.
Hayes, Kevin J.. Edgar Allan Poe in context. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The raven: with, The philosophy of composition. Wakefield, R.I.: Moyer Bell ;, 2000. Print.