The Perception of Emotion and Poetry


"The other aspect of this Impersonal theory of poetry is the relation of the poem to its author. And I hinted, by an analogy, that the mind of the nature poet differs from that of the immature on not precisely in any valuation of "personality," not being necessarily more interesting, or having "more to say," but rather by being a more finely perfected medium in which special, or very varied, feelings are at liberty to enter into new combinations" (Eliot 3).

Eliot's description of emotion and individual talent is very intriguing because of how in-depth he covers the topic. When reading the above quote, it is true to say that the immature mind is very different than the mature mind. I believe that Eliot is trying to say that the mature poet (mind) is able to separate un-necessary personality traits and emotions in his or her poems or writings. When I began to study poetry, I remember only trying to use personal experiences or emotions to write a few stanzas. As I am nearing the completion of my English-literature degree, I understand that poetry does not have to involve an experience or emotion.

This article also discusses how important it is for a poet to base his or her poetry off of the poets of the past. I also believe that this is where the mature mind is able to include or write with an appreciation of the past. The immature mind may not be able to use poetry history because it is not developed to express the feelings with other events or history.

When thinking about this quote from my viewpoint, I believe that an immature or mature mind has the potential to create poetry that many generations to come will study. One on hand, an immature mind may not be able to write a poem like Shakespeare or Frost did, but it will be able to produce ideas that a mature mind may not be able to do. For example, a mature mind may want to follow the learned techniques of poetry whereas an immature mind may want to go out on that limb or write an abstract piece of poetry.

There seems to be a fine line between a mature and immature mind when it comes to writing poetry.


It may simply be that a poet’s individual talent outweighs the perfection of a mature or immature mind.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Elliot, ''Tradition and the Individual Talent."


Good point Derek. I really liked what you said about about taking to account the past. I think that when a person writes poetry, he/she is more likely to become famous, or even write quality poetry, if they do reference past poetry. First, because to reference past poetry shows the reader that you're educated. You know what you're talking about. Second, if you are well read, you know more about what you should be writing, like you said Derek. The first poems you write tend to me immature. I used to think that a poem had to rhyme to have value, but have since changed my mind.

I also agree with what you said about immature writers being good sometimes. Young children and teens have imaginations that we as young adults can't even touch. They are not influenced and can have these fresh ideas.

I thought your last full paragraph about an immature mind vs. a mature mind was very interesting. I agree with what you said about the comparison and there are positive and negative aspects to both. When I used to read poetry that contained references to other poems/authors, it used to drive me crazy because it actually made me think that the poet was lacking ideas for their own writing and just mentioning another work who the readers couldn't always relate to. Now I know that these references are almost like an opportunity for a poet to show off all their historical knowledge of poets from the past.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on January 25, 2009 3:37 PM.

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