An Author's Assemblage: Brief Notes and Notices

The accumulation of posts to this web page serves merely as an author’s assemblage of brief notes and notices: the collection of informal bits of information, quotations, and observations gathered as one way to display a personal reflection of perceptions on poetry, publication, and related selections of material drawn from my perspectives as a poet or professor of literature and creative writing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gregory Orr On Romanticism and Personal Lyric Poetry

“Inspired by Rousseau, the Romantics took lyric back from the Overculture. Returning it to its ancient and honorable identity as personal lyric, they used it according to its primordial function of ordering individual lives around emotionally charged experiences and restabilizing the self in a chaotic time.

“It is in the context of the personal lyric and its subset, the transformative lyric, that certain figures emerge; poets who, coping with their own crises and traumas, seized the opportunity to create new selves and new meanings through the making of poems. These poets became poet-heroes by disclosing visionary possibilities that went far beyond their own private situations and revealed hopes and meanings that were broadly useful to others, both contemporaries and those of us who came after. They fulfilled Keats’s dream of being ‘physician to all men.’ Of course, the term ‘all men’ is hyperbolic and, to our postfeminist ears, restrictively sexist. It would be more accurate and thus more complimentary to say that these visionary poets were physicians to broad spectrums of the population who identified with their sense of trauma and confusion and their need for self-transformation.

“Romanticism and its aftermath gave us hero after hero of spiritual renewal through the personal lyric.” —From Poetry as Survival by Gregory Orr (University of Georgia Press, 2002)

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