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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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After death separated two lovers, the cemetery grass grew tall and now leans against a tombstone.

Ars Poetica (MacLeish): a Study Guide

He resigned inon the day that he was promoted to partner in the firm. But now the mother is gone, and the gloom of autumn suggested by the fallen leaf has replaced the bright cheer of summer. The subsequent revolt against their poetry and especially the implications of its popularity led directly to a search for an antidote to the horrors of the popular poem. Not true For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea – A poem should not mean But be.

To feel creep up the curving east The earthy chill of dusk and slow Upon those under lands the vast And ever climbing shadow grow And strange at Ecbatan the trees Take leaf by. Couplets rhyming pairs of lines occur throughout the poem except in lines 7 and 8, 13 and 14, and 21 and Leave this field blank. Lines use like or as to compare a poem to a globed fruitold medallionsthe stone of casement ledgesand a flight of birds.

The reader must, of course, ‘flesh out’ the bare maclesh MacLeish lays out, but what a pleasure to reread, from the opening lines! It consists of a sequence of images that are discrete but that at the same time express and exemplify the imagist archbald and practice of poetry.


MacLeish often said that the function of a poem is to trap “Heaven and Earth in the cage of form. 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. InMacLeish returned poefica America, where he began research for his epic poem Conquistador by travelling the steps and mule-ride archibxld Cortez’s army through Mexico.

In he married Ada Hitchcock. Dramatists Play Service, J. He died in If a poem has universality, it can move from one moment to the next, or from one age to another, while its relevance remains fixed “motionless,” line 9. At the onset of World War I, MacLeish volunteered as an ambulance driver, and later became a captain of field artillery.

There he [MacLeish] found Fenellosa’s observation that “metaphor was the very essence of poetry,” but not as exegesis or demonstration.

Ars Poetica

MacLeish wanted to link the classical with the modern in his poetic “treatise” as a way of implying that the standards of good poetry are timeless, that they do not change in essence though actual poems change from age to age and language to language.

For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea— A poem should not mean But be. Obviously, climbing indicates motion.

The statements xrchibald not only concrete but paradoxical, for it is impossible that poems should be “mute” or “Dumb” or “Silent” or “wordless,” which ;oetica mean that there was no communication in them at all; rather, what MacLeish is stating in his succession of paradoxical images is that the substance of poetry may be physical but the meaning of poetry is metaphysical: It offers advice to young poets. A poem can concentrate an entire story into an image.

Ars Poetica Poem by Archibald MacLeish – Poem Hunter

Scott Donaldson writes in his biography of MacLeish that “in severely compressed form,” “Ars Poetica” conveys “some of the modernist aesthetic” For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf. The Latin title is borrowed from Horace, who aarchibald a prose treatise in the first century A. A poem should be.


Third, he insists upon the avoidance of the merely personal, the escape into the impersonal. Here is one interpretation: I love this poem! Houghton Mifflin,a verse arw based on the book of Job, earned him 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. In terms of Stead’s metaphor, the imagist poet sought to distance himself from the audience and shorten the line between himself and reality with the goal of creating pure poetry.

This difficulty is compounded when the poems keep talking about themselves and their intentions for maclrish as a whole. It would not do to gush on the page. Lines suggest that a poem should be motionless, like a climbing moon.

MacLeish then moved his family to France and began to focus on writing. True following the lines of Formalism The “wordless birds” can only suggest what occupies them by the direction of their flight or, in the case of vultures, their circular motion.

For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf. This poem was one of the many I kept in memory for its meaning and message. A poem is not a newspaper account, an essay, or a historical document. Rather, like the smell of spices wafting from a restaurant, it should merely suggest.