Tag: Poetry

The History of Poetry

In tonights lecture we met with Professor Colangelo who spoke to us about “Voice and Verse: At the origins of contemporary poetry. ” Professor Colangelo started his talk with quotes from poets through out history. One thing that I realized while he was reading these quotes I realized that each poets voice and context carried.

Through all of the lectures we have attended I found this to be the one lecture where it was hard to pinpoint an exact origin of the subject matter. Poetry is a very subjective art form. There are no rules or standards to poetry. The way in which one area which we have learned about that there is no exact date in which an origin can be pinpointed. The reason being that poetry, as an art form can be viewed and interpreted very differently depending on who is reading the poem.

Professor Colangelo’s talk made me think about the idea that each and every person is a poet wether or not they chose to pursue the practice of writing poetry. Any form of expression in its self can be seen as a form of poetry. In some ways this blog post itself could be considered a poem. However, the practice of poetry itself is something that has been perfect and practiced by many great poets. Poetry, however, has no wrong or right approach. Poetry can rhyme, be short, have a rhythm, or can have many hidden meanings.

I think the idea of ones voice is the most important part of poetry. Ones voice is the tone in which they try to express their message or story within their poem. While the text itself could be the same, the tone in which the poem is read can completely change the meaning of the poem. Some poets such as Poe use a very dark voice to convey his message. Poe’s poems all are very complex and somewhat twisted. Poe leaves his readers with a chilling feeling after reading his poems. In contrast to Poe there are poets such as Shell Silverstein whose poems are geared towards a very different audience. Sblverstiens poems are written for children and can be read as almost a song. Silverstein takes very simple daily ideas and converts them into whimsical and light hearted stories. Silverstein’s poems are often memorized and reread by students in a class room setting as a way to introduce them into the practice of poems.

The final thought that stuck with me the most from the lecture is the idea that poetry is timeless. Poet and philosopher Bachelard introduced this idea of poetries timelessness. It stands on the idea that poetry is the coming together of many ideas into one moment. While it is hard to state that anything is timeless considering time is one of the factors in life which mankind has absolute no control over, the timelessness of poetry comes from the fact that the meaning behind certain poems are everlasting. One simple message that a poet wrote hundreds years ago could be read today and interpreted in the same way.

Intuition and Expression

Last week Prof. Colangelo gave us a thoughtful speech about “Voice and Verse: At the origins of contemporary poetry. ” He introduced us several figures related to his topic, and especially I found it interesting the doctrine of Benedetto Croce(1866-1952), who is the famous Italian philosopher. Prof. Colangelo highlighted the phrase “Art is pure intuition or pure expression” from the Croce’s book “Breviario di estetica”(1913). According to prof. Colangelo, here “Intuition” is something you think deeply and “expression” is something you push out. Those joining is underlying an art which includes poetry. Then it made me think that those items are not something unfamiliar to us but it is something we human has as an privilege in nature. The doctrine of Croce tells us that homo nascitur poeta (human is born as a poet) rather than poëta nascitur (A poetry is born). Namely every humans are born as a poet and some men can be great poets, and little poets others. But he also claims that in both differences are not qualitative but quantitative. We all have intuition but we have different quantity of expressions which cause people to be great poets or little.


What would allow people to express our intuition? According to Paul Valery, “voice” would play very important role in order to revive poetry. It is necessary to create a connection of voice, develop it within time, make people listen to arouse their emotion. Although as prof. Colangelo said that it is hard to define the origin of poetry because it is always abstract in the history, “voice” can lead us to get close to the origins of poetry. Because “voice” was the only tool in ancient times to transmit ideas or arts including verses one person to another, from generation to generation before writing system was invented.


The video prof. Colangelo introduced in the lecture reflects how voice effects in poetry. The experimental piece A-Ronne(1975), composed by Edoardo Sanguineti starts from the sound of “a” uttered by a man. It sounded like he is trying to get someone’s attention. Following voice uttered by another person was “hamm”. It somehow for me sounded like responding the first utterance but it seems like it gave each person different interpretations. For instance, in italian culture, this sound evokes prof. Colangelo that an adult tries making a child eat. If you are just looking at the text, those “a” or “hamm” would not give us any strong impressions. However, once they are vocalized in musical tones or articulation, they obtain the meanings. It is common to all experiences such as daily speech or theatre, where changes in expression imply changes in meaning.


Let’s go back to the book “Breviario di estetica”(1913) by Benedetto Croce. The title has the Italian word “estetica” which means “aesthetics”. If we break down the word “estetica”, we can see that it contains the Italian word “etica” which means “ethics”. Ethics is necessary to determine our morals and to hold a society together. This overlap of two words indicates that the principle of artwork creation is fundamentally lying underneath of human principles. We can not have only “intuition” which is related to chaos but we also need “expression” which allows us to organize those chaos into order which enable people to share and connect our thoughts each other.  


Boundaries in poetry

Last Tuesday, professor Stefano Colangelo from the University of Bologna opened his talk on the origins of contemporary poetry with a statement that “poetry reject boundaries.” Throughout his talk, Prof. Colangelo focused on this “boundary-less” by analyzing poetry quotes from a variety of poets and writers that were well-known and crucial to the development of this form of literature.

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The Origins of Contemporary Poetry

Stephano Colangelo came to lecture about origins of contemporary poetry. He first mentions before getting into the heart of the lecture that poetry is a study of literature that produces metaphors to understanding something new about topics. He also expanded that the origins of poetry and especially contemporary poetry is difficult to trace since poetry is abstract and defined it as a state of mind. He said he would use metaphors to understand different parts of contemporary poetry.

One of the more interesting ideas he discussed was Benedetto Croce’s quote that, “art is pure intuition or pure expression.” I believe this is true for all art. There is fluidity in this statement that art is a pure intuition. When someone hears, sees, smell, taste, or feel any art form it, is the person interpreting that is giving the meaning to the art form, and it is all based on intuition without the primordial form of knowledge. You can also see this from the perspective of the artist, where the artist doesn’t have any concepts, but has an intuition and uses his art as his or her way of expression. There are ideas and concepts of the art, but there is no primordial form, and this is what art is by Croce. Croce also believes poetry as art and this intuition might be the beginning trace of origins for contemporary poetry. I think you can connect the idea of order vs. chaos in this definition of art. When art is a pure expression or intuition it gives it order because expression and intuition there is some understanding and intention behind it, however, the lack of primordial knowledge is similar to the idea of chaos where there is no understanding of where, how, and why this intuition or expression came to be.

Another significant point discussed in the lecture is the notion of relating voice, poetry, language, and body. Colangelo mentions that the multilingual poet, Paul Celan, says “poetry is timeless, and poetry can be an empty space. It doesn’t always have to be fully understood; it can be just left empty.” These components of poetry are crucial to discover some evidence to origins of poetry. However, it is also the reason I think why finding origins of poetry difficult. If poetry is timeless than it becomes more challenging to pinpoint when poetry has started because any literature with verses can become poetry from any time, but also most origins share the same characteristics of being timeless, such as origins of the universe there is no definite time when the universe started. Leaving poetry vague and incomprehensible also shares similar characteristics with the origins of universe and art. We also don’t fully understand why the universe was created and trace the origins of art. It is challenging to find origins of universe and art. For art, it is mainly due to defining what qualifies as art that makes tracing origins of art difficult, and for origins of the universe, we are not technologically and scientifically able to trace our universe at the beginning of time.