Nature destroys as often as it inspires or creates, and it destroys cruelly and indiscriminately. Shelley uses nature as his primary source of poetic inspiration. At the same time, although nature has creative power over Shelley because it provides inspiration, he feels that his imagination has creative power over nature.
It is the imagination—or our ability to form sensory perceptions—that allows us to describe nature in different, original ways, which help to shape how nature appears and, therefore, how it exists. Thus, the power of the human mind becomes equal to the power of nature, and the experience of beauty in the natural world becomes a kind of collaboration between the perceiver and the perceived.
Themes Analysis Motifs Symbols.
Context Study Questions Further Reading. Main ideas Themes. Every time we take a perceptive criticism on the chin, we let go of ourselves — at least to some extent. Engage with Primary Experience. Engage with direct experience through the physical senses — sight, sound, touch, and taste. Secure yourself in that.
Keep coming back to that. In Buddhism this means the systematic cultivation of mindfulness. So, feel the sensations of your body as you walk to the tube, taste your tea, listen to music or birdsong. Consciously drop beneath the racket of thought — the repetitive mental chatter, the worry and flurry — into direct, unmediated sensation.
Develop Imagination. Imagination is the synthesis and transcendence of reason and emotion. It develops out of our engagement with primary experience and is leached away by the alienations of distracted thought. Imagination brings the whole person together — thought, feeling, volition, perception — into a single act of creation.
You have to discover imagination, uncover it, find the place where the poem takes off and leaves you behind. Imagination always goes beyond you. Fancy is the same old thing — the same old you — arranged in bizarre, arbitrary combinations. Nothing genuinely new comes into being with fancy; no deeper perception has been unearthed; there has been no discovery, no realization of the thought the poem is trying to think.
Spanning 4, years of world literature, this expansive anthology gathers poems by more than poets. The Christmas Spirit roams the earth, Visiting every haunt and hearth. And, looming where the lovelight gleams, And where the kettle gently steams, Is seen as a.
Fancy can be brilliant, even virtuosic, but it is incapable of moving us. Imagination unifies reason and emotion: thought finds its place in immediately loved images, while images are underpinned by genuine thought.
This unification of thought and feeling is experienced as having value — we feel that that something both meaningful and pleasurable is being communicated, and this is inherently satisfying. Fancy, on the other hand, is a kind of showing off.
Beware Success. But success is dangerous.
The more success we experience the less it satisfies, and the more disappointed we feel by lack of success. Success becomes the unappreciated norm while un-success becomes more and more painful. Success can lure us away from the inner space and solitude essential to achieved writing.
In the small world of poetry, success needs to be striven for and, when achieved, maintained and this can atrophy your gifts as was the case with Frost and Auden, for instance. It can inflate your ego and separate you from your friends.
Most importantly, success is addictive: we become willing to sacrifice present happiness for the promise of future honour and prestige. To mitigate the dangers of success: give. If you win money, give some away; help others in their writing; do some chores for your partner instead of insisting you need time to write. Share your success; spread it round.
Embrace Disappointment. We need to turn toward it, embrace it. Part of growing up means feeling disappointment instead of thinking about it, i. The spiritual value of disappointment is in our willingness to feel it, and this requires a letting go self — which is what spiritual life really consists in. We are trying to write that well.
Compared with say, what Dickinson can do or Larkin, winning prizes or being accepted for publication is neither here nor there. Read Deeply and broadly. Everyone says it, but if you are going to write poems you need to read them. Read broadly in contemporary poetry and read poetry in translation. Many contemporary artists have a extremely limited cultural memory — they know about art created in the last ten years by a few people in the south of England.
I suspect this might be true of many contemporary poets.
So as well as reading broadly, read deeply — which mean reading the acknowledged best: Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, etc, etc. Read them intensely. Read biographies and the best critics such as Helen Vendler. Read broadly, but more importantly, read deeply. Read Well. Read for the sake of enjoyment, delight and ecstasy. Poetry can give us value-laden pleasure — it can feel both intensely meaningful and deeply satisfying.
This is what makes poetry worth reading. This is what all the fuss is all about! And it means no cramming.