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Harringtons Narration on Poetry

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jeffgpotter
Words 1601
Pages 7
Harrington offers a narrative in how poetry’s entity to the public shifted from rather an everyday outlet or enjoyment to that of a scholarly, more objectified and purposeless craft. He starts his overview explaining how F.O. Matthiessen is left having “discovered a renaissance for American Literature that did not include poets,” (Harrington P.496) besides a sole exclusion: Walt Whitman. Poetry has always hung on the precipice of whether being literature or not; swayed, back and forth, by the changing movements of the decades. I’ve come to understand after reading Harrington that poetry is constantly being redefined and reorganized by its place in society and its critics. Yet generally over the last several or more decades its’ art has remained secular from what is knows as ‘American Literature’.
Harrington believes “the institutional history of poetry in the US suggests both the importance and the genealogy of the literary- critical split between American poetry and American literature,” (Harrington P. 496.). He notes that poetry used to play a crucial role in cultural conflicts and almost digesting the current day-to-day. He then goes on to argue in which I agree, that by now holding aside poetry as something less in turn stripping its influence on us, literature to us is a contradictory thing. Not including poetry in literature for the people reading it is silly for the two are so intertwined. So much fiction has taken from or found inspiration from poetry. Harrington states this notion, “As a social form, poetry is not simply a value-neutral, universal taxonomic category but an interpretive cue and an evaluative epithet that shapes uses and judgments of texts,” and that it stages “literary ideologies,” (Harrington P.497). He calls this consideration of the genre the ‘social form’ and says that is what is changing or at stake. The openness and edgy...

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