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Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica


by Archibald MacLeish

Ars Poetica Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why does the speaker flip-flop between perfect couplets, slant rhymes, and then no rhymes at all? What's the point?
  2. What's the point of all the paradoxes we see in the poem? Do they seem to point towards any bigger ideas about poetry (and life)?
  3. Why is imagery so important in "Ars Poetica"? For what reason does the speaker appear to rely more so on imagery than any other device?
  4. What does the speaker mean when he says, "A poem should not mean but be"? Why do you think so?
  5. Do you think the speaker has successfully demonstrated what it means to write a good poem? Why or why not?

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