Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Discipline



Perhaps no question has perplexed the minds of teachers and students in our secondary schools more than that of poetry. "Why study poetry ?" is the pet gripe of most students; "How teach poetry?" poses as serious a problem to the teacher.

Upon the secondary teacher rests the resolution of both problems to the good and satisfaction of all concerned. For the teacher, it becomes "techniques", for the students "favorable attitudes." The students have learned to read prose and their difficulty lies in reading with comprehension poetic lines. Louis Untermeyer says:

It is impossible to set up rigid rules for separating poetry from prose; perhaps a misty mid-region" is necessary. Nevertheless, the reader will find some differing features usually applicable. As Robert Graves insists a poem is not an elaborate and arbitrary way of saying something which might have been more simply and effectively in prose --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is the pitch, the emotional tensity, which distinguish poetry from prose. All the elements of a poem combine to lift the words beyond their ordinary meaning and project the idea into new dimensions, O. E. Housman wrote in The name and Nature of poetry. It is not to transmit thought, but to set up in the reader's sense a vibration corresponding to what was felt by the writer, is the peculiar function of poetry.

At first glance, it appears that such a dictum tends to belittle the intellectual element of poetry and almost insists upon the omission of one of its chief attributes. But it is the fusion of thought and emotion, of music and meaning, on a high plane, which is the chief function of poetry, the quality that lifts it above the other arts.


Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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