three requirements of a poet…

September 29, 2016


To my mind the great pre-eminence of Browning as a poet does not rest on any profound philosophy to be found in his work, nor in his superior craftsmanship, not yet in his generous uplifting impulse and the way with which he arouses our feelings, but rather on the fact that he possessed all these three requirements of a poet in an equally marked degree. The work of Poe or of William Morris, on the other hand, does not exhibit this fine balance of strength, intellectuality, and passion. On its sensuous side, it is wonderfully beautiful; and yet it is not wholly satisfying, since it fails to give us enough to think about. Its mentality is too slight. Neither of these poets, to judge from his poetry alone, had any large and firm grasp of the thought of the world, such as Browning possessed, and that is why the wizardry of Poe and the luring charm of Morris are not more effective. An artist must be also a thinker and a prophet, if his creations are to have the breath of life. And again, poetry may easily fail by being overladen with this same requisite of mentality. It may have more thought than it can carry. Browning himself, in several of his later books, like the “Inn Album,” quite loses the fine poise of his powers, and almost ceases to be a poet, in his desire to be a philosopher…

Bliss Carman
The Purpose of Poetry

One Response to “three requirements of a poet…”

  1. hocuspocus13 said

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:

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