Chapter

The Resistance to Poetry

James Longenbach

in The Resistance to Poetry

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226492490
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226492513 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226492513.003.0001
The Resistance to Poetry

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter explores the ways in which poets since the time of Callimachus have resisted their own usefulness. It suggests that a poem can't help but to be meaningful; it may speak as easily to one person as to a thousand. But especially when it has something urgent to say, a poem's power inheres less in its conclusions than in its propensity to resist them, demonstrating their inadequacy while moving inevitably toward them. At the same time, however, a poetry content with limitation would be merely as alluring as a poetry content with grandeur. Poets fear wisdom. This is why great poems threaten to feel beside the point precisely when we want them to reflect our importance: language returns our attention not to confirm what we know but to suggest that we might be different from ourselves.

Keywords: poetry; poems; wisdom; meaning

Chapter.  3968 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.