Poetic Movements The schools of poetry defined by grouping poets who share similar styles of writing poetry. They can be described in a very approximate, chronological sequence, however it is not exact. Some poets belong to two or more schools of poetry.
Here are just a few This list is by no means comprehensive…
Prehistoric • The Oral Tradition • This is too broad to be a strict school but it is a useful grouping of works whose origins either predate writing, or belong to cultures without writing.
Sixteenth Century • Some major players: • Alexander Montgomerie • William Fowler • John Stewart • Castalian Band: • The name given to the group of poets at the court of James VI • He wanted to attract musicians and poets who were encouraged to make translations, experiment with metrical forms, and collaborate with each other for new compositions. • There was a lot of unrest within this group and it promptly came to an end.
Seventeenth Century • The Metaphysical Poets • Major Player: John Donne • Metaphysical essentially means “beyond the physical” • It is notoriously difficult to define because it is largely based on context. • Metaphysical poets write in a style that is largely rigorous, uneven and energetic • Often force together seemingly unconnected ideas, by using wit or conceit e.g., metaphors drawing sometimes forced parallels between apparently dissimilar ideas or things), complex and subtle thought, frequent use of paradox, and a dramatic directness of language, the rhythm of which derives from living speech.
Seventeenth Century • The Metaphysical Poets Cont’d… • Speaks to the concept of existentialism. • Existentialism, in a broad sense, speaks to how humans exist in the world. • It embodies the notion of human will, and all the reasons of why and how we do what we do. • The metaphysical poets were not formally affiliated with each other meaning at the time, they may not have been familiar with each others’ work. • They were influenced by the changing times and the new sciences that were emerging during the 17th century. • Donne is revered as a sort of “grandfather” of metaphysical poetry.
Seventeenth Century • The Cavalier Poets: • Major Player: Ben Jonson • Broad description of a school of poets who came from the classes that supported King Charles I during the English Civil War • Much of this poetry is light in style • They are 'cavalier' in the sense, not only of being Royalists but in the sense that they distrust the over-earnest, the too intense. • They accept the ideal of the Renaissance Gentleman who is at once lover, soldier, wit, man of affairs, musician, and poet
Seventeenth Century • The Cavalier Poets: • They avoid the subject of religion • Their poetry typically lacks depth and they treat life cavalierly, as they occasionally also treat poetic convention as well. • They prefer straight-forward expression
Eighteenth Century • Romanticism • Major Players: William Wordsworth, William Blake, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge… • Started in the late 18th century in Western Europe. • Lyrical ballads were some of the first and some say some of the most important forms to emerge from this movement. • It stressed strong emotion, imagination, a reflection of art and the rejection of established social conventions. • It looked at the importance of “nature” in language, and celebrated perceived “heroic” individuals or artists
Eighteenth Century • Romanticism Cont’d… • It gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. • In part, it was a revolt to the aristocratic social and political norms of the “Age of Enlightenment”, and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. • The Age of Enlightenment sought to answer all the unknowns by replacing them with rationalizations and “knowledge” through science and reason.
Nineteenth Century • Pastoralism • Refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherding livestock and maintaining subsidence. • This art depicts shepherd life, usually in an idealized manner and for urban audiences. • Pastoral literature began with the poetry of the Hellenistic Greek Theocritus.
Nineteenth Century • Modernist Poetry • Major Players: E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats… • Has a very blurred line of beginning and ending as well as where and how it began. • Many poets blur into this movement or school of poetry. • The questions of impersonality and objectivity seem to be crucial to Modernist poetry. • Modernism developed out of a traditional of lyrical expression, emphasizing the personal imagination, culture, emotions and memories of a poet. • For the modernists, it was essential to move away from the merely personal towards an intellectual statement that poetry could make about eh world.
Twentieth Century • Imagism • Major Players: T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound • Emerged in the early 20th century and favoured precision of imagery and clear, sharp language. • A number of strong, women writers emerged among their major figures. • There was a focus on the “thing” as a “thing” - there was an attempt to isolate a single image to reveal its essence. • It uses concrete images to reveal the truth about an abstract concept
Twentieth Century • The Beat Generation • Major Players: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs • A group of American post-WWII writers who created this cultural phenomena • Central elements of the “Beat” culture (think “beatnik”) included experimentation with drugs, alternative sexuality, an interest in Eastern religion and a rejection of materialism… • Members of the Beat Generation developed a reputation for being bohemians, celebrating non-conformity and spontaneous creativity. • “Hippie” counter-culture expanded out of “Beat” culture.