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What is the Philosophy of Poetry?

I have to begin this blog post by saying that there can’t be but one philosophy of poetry, but I believe that the scope of my idea is wide enough to cover the gist of it. When I was a teenager, I always had such deep thoughts that elude me now in my twenties… but I can still draw from that philosophical well that built itself in my core. My idea was that there were three components of poetry and philosophy that drove passion and invention.

Those parts are beauty, knowledge and truth, and the discovery I made was that these three concepts were connected. Truth is knowledge, as knowledge is always considered true. Beauty is the exception, as we have knowledge of events or emotions that we’d rather not have known and truths we would rather repress. Though knowledge can be unsavory, the advantage of being a poet is that we are trained to look at everything in different perspectives. For more on that, read this blog post – https://readyourselfpoetry.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-poetry/. In this post, I will discuss how these three concepts deal with the “philosophy of poetry”.

My Philosophy of Poetry

My reason for writing poetry is to spread awareness of the beauty that exists around us; that even the polluted has its place in our philosophies of beauty. The beauty of poetry itself is that it helps us to develop our ability to see the world in different perspectives. Visit this blog for more information on the why’s of writing poetry – https://readyourselfpoetry.com/what-is-the-purpose-of-a-poem/

Beauty, Knowledge and Truth

  • Beauty

It is my belief that beauty and progress are in a loose marriage; for without progress, there would be no such concept as near perfection. We can make the argument that this beauty is not perfection, but rather a flaw reframed. That argument is rendered null by the fact that this flaw is reframed as beautiful, so there is no real flaw here. Then there’s  the “beloved flaw”, the flaw that we appreciate that we would normally find repugnant. Such as the strange laugh that comes out as a snort, that some would find strange or unseemly, and others would find charming or quirky.

I would like to present an alternative to the idea I introduced above, as there is more than one way to look at this. I want to say that beauty is not near perfection, but rather a sense of admiration. This admiration can be both intellectual and appreciative. We are brought into a state of deep thought and emotion by some poetry and, in my opinion, the goal of poetry should be to inspire both these feelings of admiration in our readers.

While perception is subjective, and that includes our perspectives towards the beautiful, there exists the wisdom that beauty can be found in anything, and within that wisdom, I find the idea of objective beauty. I say this to mean that there is beauty even in the flawed, and this is a source of inspiration for me and I believe it helps the poet write works which are more robust and makes the act of writing more fulfilling.

  • Knowledge

Forgive me for stating the obvious: there would be nothing to experience without the senses, and nothing to perceive without the mind. These are what allow us to collect knowledge, and there would be no beauty or truth without knowledge. Intellectual “admiration” might be one that spurs the cogs of our minds into motion. Poetry should inspire and move us, and I believe it should also inform. The issue is that the general perspective is that poetry is more about “touching the heart”, which, in my opinion, is far too sentimental a statement and leads to sentimental poetry. What point is there in writing if we don’t learn anything from it? Poetry is more like a condensed essay, and even if it’s about the nature of human emotion, the poem should have more value to it. Poetry that is both relatable and informative achieves the full experience a poem should have on its reader.

How To Be More Relatable

I’ll go ahead and make a list of a few qualities that make a poem relatable.

  1. Impactful
  2. Dramatic
  3. Climactic

Being impactful is about knowing what’s happened out in the real world, empathizing with it and knowing how people react to it. It’s also about being able to frame these experiences so as to catch the attention of your readers. I’ve said that your topic should be personal to you, but that’s not enough. You should take from the literary and rhetorical devices you’ve learned about to help the reader understand where you’re coming from. You can take examples from news sources or, better yet, from your own life; be as revealing as you’re comfortable with being.

Here’s a device that should be useful for adding drama to your piece: polysyndeton. Polysyndeton makes use of conjunctions such as and, but and or where you might have a comma or just end your sentence entirely. Repetition and alliteration are also good devices used to stress certain areas of a poem. I would use consonants in these more “impactful” areas of your poetry to add a sense of drama.

I take climactic to mean that the poem works more like a story and “climbs” to the highest point of drama.

  • Truth

A philosophy of truth should be one left unbiased by any standard of beauty, which means we shouldn’t let ourselves be charmed into writing the superficial poem; one focused on beauty alone. It’s not enough to write about what pleases the senses; the power of words is that they persuade.


That’s it for this post! Thank you for reading.


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