Unavoidable Duality and the Pain of Composition: The Romantic Poets

I started a summer poetry group this year (an offshoot of my “rediscovering literature” group during the academic year) which meets once a week on Thursday evenings. We discuss things such as:

  • How poems use tools such as imagery or structure to evoke an emotional response
  • What are the qualities of sonnets and why is that form so timeless
  • Why write a narrative poem rather than a short story
  • How poetry can be used to make a political statement
  • And more

In tonight’s class we will be talking about Romantic Poetry. No, not reading love poetry to each other (although there are plenty of love poems written by Romantic Poets), but reading the writings of poets during the Romantic era. The Romantic era was a reaction to the prevailing ideals of the enlightenment, and consisted mainly of artists trying to express the reconciliation of man and nature, and the duality of using man-made words and structure to express a natural ideal. The Romantic poets were also the first to eschew the classical, formal language to use the common vernacular. Here are some classical poets and poems we will discuss:

William Blake, The Tyger (one of my very favorites) and Introduction to Songs of Innocence
William Wordsworth, Lines Composed Above Tinturn Abbey
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Kahn
George Gordon, Lord Byron, So We’ll Go No More A’Roving and She Walks in Beauty
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Love’s Philosophy
John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci

If you have any favorite Romantic Poets, or any opinions about Romantic Poetry you’d like to share, please leave a comment.

Happy Reading!

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