Poetry and the Idea

Does poetry relate to the idea?  Yes, as far as the idea is force all poetry, and always, relates to it, as speaking out is a force and, like ideas, is effective in the world around it, the world of forces.  What the idea is besides this force, or as this force, is of course countless things, since we already imagine force in terms of degree, in terms of more or less.  There is more or less force in poems, more or less of the thrust with which it began, or that it finds in the middle or at the end.  There is more or less, too, of a certain affirmation, and this is what we most look for in poems in anything approaching a grand style: affirmation of the position of one thing to another, affirmation of the human scenario and the more than human and less than human scenario, affirmation of being a speaker, one who says a great deal and for who knows whom, affirmation of being–a poet!  So the idea we are searching for here is, among the thick of the psyche, the thick of environment or as this thick, making entrance, appearing in a particular way, the idea as it relates to totally affirming, or not, things as they are, as they are found in the thick amidst all the tricks of language and bending, indecisive thought.  Whether we want to speak to things, at times for things when that happens to be their line of flight, through things and about things at all, or not, that is the idea.

Art affirms. Even Job affirms.



  1. I’ve always love poetry. My favourite has to be The Lady of Shalott, a lyrical ballad by the 19th-century English poet Alfred Tennyson and one of his best-known works. It is both beautiful and sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Richard Q says:

      It has been so long since I have read Tennyson’s work. Thank you for this heartfelt reminder to do so. It is so wonderful to hear from you, Paula.

      Beautiful and sad, a true combination even if the hardest combination to get used to.


  2. A very good article indeed, I myself get reminded of the time I was reading the romantics and specifically Coleridge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard Q says:

      Thanks in abundance. What you said has me thinking further along this thread. Especially this morning, as my mind and heart reach out into the openness. I will be returning to Coleridge as well, for your being reminded of him and Romantic poetry is fine and poignant.

      But it is true, no less, that strenuous, firm,
      And with a natural gladness, he maintained
      The citadel unconquered, and in joy
      Was strong to follow the delightful Muse.

      -Coleridge, A Tombless Epitaph


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