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Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

The only "place" mentioned in "Poetry" is poetry itself, which the speaker calls "a place for the genuine." Several literary scholars have questioned why Moore refers to poetry as a place, and you can check out the discussion of line 3 in "Detailed Summary" for more on this.

If we try to picture a less abstract location for this poem, such as an actual place where the speaker might be saying these words, we might imagine ourselves in a classroom, having a casual conversation with our literature teacher after the lesson has ended, or sitting in the local library with a friend who knows a lot about poetry. In other words, the setting is a place we might go to learn and study, but also a place where we can be informal and speak our mind. So after trudging through a section of Paradise Lost or The Waste Land, we tell our teacher or friend, "I just don't get poetry," and she responds, "You know what? I don't really get it either, but I'll tell you why I keep reading it and think it's worth all this trouble…"

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