(An analysis of Virginia Woolf’s poetry advice compared to Aristotle, Pope, and Wordsworth)
There are many different ways to be creative. There is not one right or wrong way to write a poem, sing a song, or paint a picture. However, you can always improve any of these things. Virginia Woolf is a strong supporter of self-improvement, and she believes that a little advice on a matter can go a long way. During her time, Virginia Woolf was one of the most gifted of the modernist writers. In 1932, she wrote an essay in the form of a letter called, Letter to a Young Poet. Here, she documented her thoughts on poetry for a large audience to read. Ironically, she would never consider herself a poet, but she was very educated in rhythmic language. Letter to a Young Poet, by Virginia Woolf, would have impacted some of the world’s most profound writers, including Aristotle, Alexander Pope, and William Wordsworth.
Aristotle was very well educated in the world of language, but he still would have been interested in Virginia Woolf’s advice. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher born around 384 BC. He was a very well educated man with a wide range of interests. However, one of those interests was poetry. During the time when he wrote Poetics, it was considered the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory. In Poetics, he offers an account of what he would call poetry. He analyses the most important aspects of a good poem, many of which turn out to be similar to what Virginia Woolf believes. In Letter to a Young Poet, Woolf explains the importance of a strong character. “I say, that poetry has done all this why should it not once more open its eyes, look out of the window and write about other people...Your pages were crammed with c...
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...ginia makes it very clear that she finds characterization, amusement, and setting all to be very important parts of poetry. In Poetics, Aristotle spends much of his time explaining the importance of strong characters. A tragedy is useless without the help of a suitable protagonist and antagonist. Alexander Pope’s piece to get him recognition was none other than The Rape of the Lock. This piece just so happens to be filled with satire for the amusement of the readers. Finally, William Wordsworth is the man who created nature with a capital “N”. This love of the outdoors helped his poetic writing to transport his readers to the setting of which he was describing, as shown in Tintern Abbey. Virginia Woolf’s Letter to a Young Poet proves to be not only advice to writers, but rather a guide that successful writers have seemed to be following from the beginning of time.
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