"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.


Polly Alice

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Aristotle's Poetics

Part one of Aristotle's Poetics translated by S.H. Butcher is logical and easy to read.  Aristotle wrote this treatise 2,360 years ago about the history and affect of poetic arts.  I can find it online with a click of a button.  Ancient Greek gods are in popular demand right now in YA fiction.  Why not ancient Greek philosophers?  

"I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds,
noting the essential quality of each, to inquire into the structure 
of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature
of the parts of which a poem is composed; and similarly into whatever
else falls within the same inquiry. Following, then, the order of
nature, let us begin with the principles which come first. . . Even when
a treatise on medicine or natural science is brought out in verse,
the name of poet is by custom given to the author; and yet Homer and
Empedocles have nothing in common but the meter, so that it would be right to call the one poet, the other physicist rather than poet."

 I agree with Aristotle.  Just writing in verse doesn't make a good poem.  What would he say about free verse, or the history of poetics for the last two milliennia?  Would his analytical view of life adapt to the postmodern world?  He wrote over 14,000 words on the subject of poetry alone.  One of his main concerns was the influence of art on its audience.  He used the word katharsis to describe the emotional experience of an audience watching a play.


Ode to Aristotle by a Mother

Dear Aristotle,
Everyone knows you were a genius,
You and the other philosophers were so smart.
You're mothers would be so proud your
writing influenced generations.
Those mothers know, like I do,
that you wouldn't of made it
without them to warn you not to
eat too many olives,
and how to light a fire in the grate.
They know your genius came
from three years of milk
at mother's breast.
and the stories of Greek gods
they spun for you
while you
played
in the
sand.

~

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