What Ought To Be Expressed in Verse

It would be well if every metrical aspirant would pause and reflect on the question of just what, out of the various things he wants to utter, ought indeed to be expressed in verse. The experiences of the ages have pretty well taught us that the heightened rhythms and unified patterns of verse are primarily adapted to poetry—which consists of strong feelings sharply, simply, and non-intellectually presented through indirect, figurative, and pictorial images. Therefore it is scarcely wise to choose these rhythms and patterns when we wish merely to tell something or claim something or preach something.

DESCRIPTION: In his essay “What Belongs in Verse,” Lovecraft states that poetry, as an art form, excels primarily at expressing “strong feelings” through the presentation of images, not at informing, persuading, or proselytizing.

CITATION: Lovecraft, H. P. “What Belongs in Verse.” Collected Essays. Edited by S. T. Joshi, vol. 2, Hippocampus Press, 2004, pp. 182-3.


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