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Poetry (by Moore)

Poetry (by Moore)


by Marianne Moore

Poetry (by Moore) Theme of Literature and Writing

This theme is pretty self-evident, but we might want to take a moment to consider what exactly the speaker's attitude toward poetry is. When we first look at the title, we might think, "A poem about poetry…that sounds pretty self-congratulatory." But then the speaker surprises us by declaring her dislike for poetry. By the end of the poem, the speaker seems to have come around to appreciating poetry again. You might say that this shifting attitude toward poetry ultimately shows an incredibly strong faith in poetry and hope for what it can achieve.

Questions About Literature and Writing

  1. Does "Poetry" still read like a poem, despite blatantly criticizing the genre and defying conventional poetic form? If so, where do you see its poetic qualities – its poetic-ness?
  2. Why do you think Moore chose to write this critique of poetry as a poem rather than an essay?
  3. Does "Poetry" present itself as a successful poem, one in which we can find the genuine, or is it one we should dislike?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"Poetry" defies traditional poetic form and avoids poetic language in order to produce discomfort in its readers. It is an example of a poem we should dislike.

"Poetry" defies traditional poetic form and avoids poetic language in order to appear more "genuine."

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