Friday, January 18, 2013

On The Art of Poetry

      Just how fortunate can I be! This week I received a gift from a dear and trusted friend––a soft-covered book from a personal library given to my friend by an aunt.
     The book, "On The Art of Poetry," is diminutive, almost pamphlet size, with ninety-five pages stapled on the spine, and published in Great Britain in 1929. Its frailty asks to be handled with cotton gloves, which I did not wear on my first fingertip turn of the pages.
     If being on the receiving end of this volume isn't thrill enough, imagine my pleasure to find marginal notes in scripted fountain-pen ink peppered throughout. Those who have read my past blogs know fountain pens and marginalia are sacred to me.
     I am 0-schooled in the Classics, so it will take quiet and meditative time to digest the pondering of Aristotle––ancient Greek philosopher, student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great. I shall give it a try. I hope to be better for it even if I need an assist from Sparknotes. Thank you dear friend (you know who you are!), and Aunt Neva.

He defines poetry as the mimetic, or imitative, use of language, rhythm, and harmony, separately or in combination. Poetry is mimetic in that it creates a representation of objects and events in the world, unlike philosophy, for example, which presents ideas. Humans are naturally drawn to imitation, and so poetry has a strong pull on us. It can also be an excellent learning device, since we can coolly observe imitations of things.... Aristotle identifies tragedy as the most refined version of poetry dealing with lofty matters and comedy as the most refined version of poetry dealing with base matters. On The Art of Poetry