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Poetry (by Moore)

Poetry (by Moore)

by Marianne Moore

Poetry (by Moore) Questions

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

  1. Do you think the speaker is being genuine when she says she dislikes poetry?
  2. Poetry scholar Charles Altieri, in his book Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry, writes the following about "Poetry": "This is not Shelley. Indeed, it is not much of anything, until we find ways of locating where its poetry lies." Altieri is saying that "Poetry" doesn't really look like poetry as we know it (he uses the work of Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley as a contrast), and that we need to figure out what it is about the poem that qualifies it as poetry. What is actually poetic about "Poetry"? How is poetry being defined here? What exactly is the "poetry" that arises from this poem?
  3. What does "the genuine" mean in the context of the poem? What exactly is it that the speaker suggests we can discover in poetry?
  4. What reasons can you think of to explain the vagueness of "the genuine"?
  5. The speaker does not claim that poetry itself is genuine; she says that poetry is "a place for the genuine." Why is it important to avoid stating that poetry is equivalent to the genuine? Why wouldn't the speaker want to make a direct, one-to-one correlation?

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