"What is poetry?" discusses the Heather McHugh's and Perrine's view of writing poetry and their style of poetry with quotations.

Essay by sophmore86High School, 11th gradeA-, February 2004

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What is Poetry?

Two poets, Heather McHugh and Perrine, tries to define poetry by using different types of literature. Heather McHugh defines poetry in an obscure way, using poetic style, while in "What is poetry?", the writer does it in a more realistic way with simple language in an essay.

In "What is poetry", the writer tells about the role of poetry in our lives. He divides that role into three categories and he categorizes political speeches as argumentative use of language: "In advertisements, sermons, political speeches, and even some poems we find a third use of language: as an instrument of persuasion, or argument. But the distinctions among these three uses--the practical, the literary, and the argumentative--are not always clear-cut, since some written language simultaneously performs two or even all three functions." Heather McHugh gives a good example for how is the poetry being used argumentatively where she tells about how the church and the government of Italy (those times) were afraid of Giordano Bruno's poetic speeches.

They thought his new religious ideas were offensive against the Church: "Giordano Bruno, brought to be burned...his crime was his belief... 'If God is not the soul itself, he is the soul OF THE SOUL of the world.' ...they feared he might incite the crown ( the man was famous for his eloquence)...captors placed an iron mask in which he could not speak..." They were afraid because even the people did not understand fully or believed an opposite belief, he might effect them with his poetic speeches. Perrine believes that effectiveness is very important thing about poem: "Effectiveness in communicating experience, however, is the one essential criterion for any poem aspiring to the condition of literature."

In the beginning McHugh thinks that she and her friends were all good and educated...