Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Understanding Poetry/Byron and Shelley

I recently finished 2 books; "The Art of Reading Poetry" by Harold Bloom, "The Making of The Poets Byron and Shelley in Their Time" by Ian Gilmour.
"The Art of Reading Poetry" was a small to digest 82 pages, but the book had several big words that I had to use a dictionary on. I learned that Poetry is a figurative language, so that it will be expressive. There are 4 essential types of poetry; irony, synecdoche, metonymy, and metaphor.
Irony means a method of expressing something that means the opposite of what is it's usual intended meaning. Robert Frost was a poet of irony. Synecdoche is a symbol in the poem that stands for something outside of the poem.Walt Whitman was a poet of synecdoche. Metonymy is a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used in place of that of another associated with or suggested by it. The poem "Childe Roland" by Robert Browning would be an example. Metaphor means a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used of one thing is applied to another. Hart Crane would be an example of using metaphor in his poetry. This book was a quick read, packed full of information, with also a listing of recommended poems to read in the back of the book.
"The Making of the Poets Byron and Shelley in Their Time" is an exhaustive and thorough book of research on the lives of George Gordon Byron the 6th Baron Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Both men were major English Romantic poets. I received a thorough enlightment on their lives with much information on who they had sex with and even who they wanted to have sex with. The book goes back further in giving information about each of their lineages. The book stops about 1812 shortly before Shelley met Mary Godwin, he ran off with her and her step-sister Claire. Mary Godwin would later become his wife and she wrote the story of Frankenstein. Both men could be selfish, cold, neglectful. Byron had a fiery temper, both men were thought to be manic-depressive. This book was a good read, very thorough, I was disapointed that it stoped short of Shelley's relationship with Mary, and did not continue until they both died, young tragic deaths.

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