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Poetics: The Art of Poetry

Poetics refers generally to the theory of literary forms and literary discourse. It may refer specifically to the theory of poetry, although some speakers use the term so broadly as to denote the concept of "theory" itself.

Definitions of Poetics

  1. Exhibiting the good qualities of poetry.
  2. Literary criticism that deals with the nature, forms, and laws of poetry.
  3. A treatise on or study of poetry or aesthetics.
  4. The practice of writing poetry; poetic composition.
  5. The art of writing poetry.
  6. Writing that deals with the art of poetry or presents a theory of poetry or literary discourse.

Aristotle's Poetics

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. Read More

Edgar Allan Poe's Poetics

In speaking of the Poetic Principle, I have no design to be either thorough or profound. While discussing, very much at random, the essentiality of what we call Poetry, my principal purpose will be to cite for consideration some few of those minor English or American poems which best suit my own taste, or which upon my own fancy have left the most definite impression. By "minor poems" I mean, of course, poems of little length. And here in the beginning permit me to say a few words in regard to a somewhat peculiar principle, which, whether rightfully or wrongfully, has always had its influence in my own critical estimate of the poem. I hold that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that the phrase, "a long poem," is simply a flat contradiction in terms. Read More