Ars Poetica by Archibald MacLeish. Ars Poetica Learning Guide by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley. Brief summary of the poem Ars Poetica. Ars Poetica. by Archibald MacLeish. Home /; Poetry /; Ars Poetica /; Summary. Ars Poetica /; Summary. SHMOOP. “Ars Poetica” (Latin for “The Art of Poetry”) is a lyric poem of twenty-four lines. in writing that a poem “should not mean / But be,” Archibald MacLeish conveys.

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Ars Poetica Poem by Archibald MacLeish – Poem Hunter

This remark comes about after Donaldson has pointed to a mac,eish on the poem that MacLeish wrote to Norman Holes Pearson inin which MacLeish used his notebooks to refresh his memory on his thinking at the time of the writing of the poem.

It consists of a sequence of images that are discrete but that at the same time express and exemplify the imagist principles and practice of poetry.

This poem was one of the many I kept in memory for its meaning and message. Donaldson’ s astute statement of the importance of metaphor identifies this trope maclfish as exegesis or demonstration, but experience itself.

A poem can concentrate an entire story into an image.

If the stone ledge could speak, what tale would it tell about the observer and the observed? See “Structure and Content” for further comment. A poem should be wordless Like a flight of birds. Write an essay that elaborates on the last two lines of MacLeish’s poem. The phrase a poem should be occurs five times in the poem. It is not an imagist poem, he says, because, first, it is almost impossible to write one, and second, it is too didactic; there is too strong a message.


The final paradox, that “A poem ras not mean but be,” is pure impossibility, but the poet insists it is nevertheless valid, because beyond the meaning of any poem is the being that it poetoca to, which is ageless and permanent, a divine essence or spiritual reality behind all appearances. Leave this field blank. Although he focused his studies on law, he also began writing poetry maceish this time.

Lines 15 and 16 repeat lines 9 and 10, creating a frame for the imagery in lines For love Qrs leaning grasses and two lights above the sea— A poem should not mean But be. Inhe was appointed assistant Secretary of State for cultural affairs.

Academy of American Poets Educator Newsletter. And so at the beginning of the twentieth century, English poetry was dominated by a highly rhetorical, very popular poetry exemplified by such writers macleisj Sir Henry Newbolt, William Watson, and Alfred Noyes. In other words, in “Ars Poetica,” we are privileged to behold the strange mavleish of didacticism in the guise of ars gratia artis.

For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

Explain what makes the lyrics good. The reader must, of course, ‘flesh out’ the bare bones MacLeish lays out, but what a pleasure to reread, from the opening lines! MacLeish seems to be saying that a poem should not crassly announce what it is about. The object of a poem was “not to recreate” the poet’s emotion in someone else. A poem should not ar But be.

On “Ars Poetica”

True following the lines of Formalism A climbing moon appears motionless when it is observed at any given moment. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Do you agree with MacLeish’s views on what a poem should be? The epitome of Imagist verse. For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf. I love this poem!


Ars Poetica

A poem should be motionless in time As the moon climbs. The feet are mostly iambic, and the meter varies. In he married Archlbald Hitchcock.

It would not do to gush on the page. A poem should be equal to: Should the language of good poetry be clear and direct, requiring no interpretation, or remain mostly ambiguous and merely suggestive of a particular meaning?

Lines suggest that a poem should be motionless, like a climbing moon. Houghton Mifflin,a verse play based on the book of Job, earned archibld a third Pulitzer, this time for drama. It describes the qualities a poem should have if it is to stand as a work of art. Madness and Wisdom in Modern Poetry. Originally entitled Epistle to the Pisos, the book later came to be known as Ars Poetica. The second section compares a poem to the moon.

It offers advice to young poets. One can imagine here a man or woman from a time past propping sleeved arms or elbows on a ledge while he or she looks out the window on a scene bg interest. Roosevelt persuaded him to accept an appointment as Librarian of Congress, a position he kept for five years. A poem should not mean But be Archibald MacLeish’s Other Poems.

And what is its significance?