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February 12, 2007

Keesey Ch. 2: The Anti-Breakfast Club

“The status of the poem as an “object”, as something that exists independently of it’s creator and independently of any of it’s reader, is a key concept in formal theory (76).” I enjoyed Ch. 2 a little more than Ch. 1, because it allows people who aren’t history buffs to make criticisms without feeling bogged down by standard by breakfast cereal, sex, lactose intolerance, or whatever else we are required to know to discect a work. It’s nice to break things down and see how they fit together. Formalism gives people armed with a dictionary a chance to play with “real critics.” People change their opinions as frequently as they do their underwear (at least I hope so). Thus, one day a poem you wrote could be about a sad time in your life, but when you look back twenty years later, you may say it was the best time of your life. If this happens where does that leave you? Formalism is in black letters staring back at you. Poets can’t go back years later and change the already published poem after they’ve had their Raisin Bran now can they?

Posted by ErinWaite at February 12, 2007 8:33 PM


Good points Erin. I really agree with many of the ideas you have brought up. Poets can not change what they have said in the past, but really, we shouldn't only look at what an author says, as much as we say what conventions they were following at the time. Think about Keats: we can really appreciate the words that he wrote, and find meaning only in the words, but we could also look in a historical approach. Let's look at historical approaches in two different ways: 1) we could look at the importance of Keats's life that he died at the age of 25 of tuberculosis, so we can understand that he had thoughts about death when he wrote the poem. Or 2) We can look at the conventions of a Romantic poet and what he or she believed in, and what was important to them (like nature, beauty, truth is found by the heart, not the head).

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 14, 2007 6:26 PM

Thanks, Jason. You always bring up something good that I didn't notice as I wrote. I can really see how Keats' life could relate to his ode.

Posted by: Erin at February 15, 2007 9:18 AM

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