The image is borrowed from his journals, roused to this new formal occasion yet maintaining its fringe of untransformed anguish. But the poem quickly stifles its desperation in the prescribed comforts of noble sentiment and regular music. Some of his best prose is devoted to lobbying for the special advantages of poetry.
These works are thrilling because they are written in thrilling sentences. It makes for a strangely rigged contest between turbocharged prose and the rickshaw verse it ostensibly reveres.
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Emerson kept an Aeolian harp in a window of his house. He intended to build in verse its equivalent, an instrument that nature could play.
But the instrument itself was old-fashioned, gaudy, and domestic. But his quicksilver prose was poetry, its sentences like signal flares launched one after another into the ether.
What he says about the poet is truer of those astonishing prose performances:. For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem,—a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing. The thought and the form are equal in the order of time, but in the order of genesis the thought is prior to the form.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s American poetry.
The poet has a new thought: he has a whole new experience to unfold; he will tell us how it was with him, and all men will be the richer in his fortune. For, the experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet.
He wanted poems to make the world new. It is fascinating, therefore, to see how he arranged for his own swift obsolescence.
Politics - Ralph Waldo Emerson
His poems sometimes feel intentionally slight, as though making way for the accelerating future, still at his back but quickly gaining on him. I say you have led The States there—have led Me there.
I say that none has ever done, or ever can do, a greater deed for The States, than your deed. Others may line out the lines, build cities, work mines, break up farms; it is yours to have been the original true Captain who put to sea, intuitive, positive, rendering the first report, to be told less by any report, and more by the mariners of a thousand bays, in each tack of their arriving and departing, many years after you.
Whitman was a fact of American life from that moment forward. He was their server. Our greatest writers, seeing their own visions usurped, might have been content to remain his readers. What he says about the poet is truer of those astonishing prose performances: For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem,—a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing.
Recommended Stories. Sign in. Even in our less conscious moments, our existence reflects that truth, the truth at the core of what Emerson calls poetry. This focus on the specific conditions of the physical world undergirds his famous call towards the end of the essay for a distinctly American poet. Skip to main content.
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The 100 best nonfiction books: No 69 – Essays by RW Emerson (1841)
Course Introduction. Unit 1: The American Renaissance in Context. Unit 2: Continuity and Change in Poetic Form.
Related overview of emersons essays on politics
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