"Ars Poetica" by Archibald Macleish Analytical Essay by The Research Group

"Ars Poetica" by Archibald Macleish
A line-by-line analysis including rhyme scheme, structure, images, tone, theme and meaning.
# 21173 | 1,350 words | 1 source | 1994 | US
Published on Feb 24, 2003 in Literature (American) , Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis)


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From the Paper:

"Archibald MacLeish's poem "Ars Poetical' is an ironic work because it makes declarations about poetry and what poetry "should be," but it contradicts those declarations at the very moment it makes them. For example, we read that
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds (7-8).
But, of course, these lines are made of the very words of which the poet says a poem should be free. What MacLeish is saying in this and other declarations of irony and apparent contradiction is that a poem, if it is successful, appeals to a part of the reader that transcends rational, analytical thinking which seeks a linear "meaning" from life, experience and poetry. The true "meaning" of a poem, then, according to MacLeish, is more like a mystery unsolved than an object defined. The object..."

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