Ars Poetica

Ars Poetica is a term meaning "The Art of Poetry" or "On the Nature of Poetry". Early examples of Ars Poetica by Aristotle and Horace have survived and have since spawned many other poems that bear the same name. Three of the most notable examples, including the work by Horace, are as follows.

Horace (c. 18 BC)

"Ars Poetica" (also known as "The Art of Poetry", "Epistula Ad Pisones", or "Letters to Piso") was a treatise on poetics. It was first translated into English by Ben Jonson, Three quotes in particular are associated with the work:

* "in medias res", or "into the middle of things"; this describes a popular narrative technique that appears frequently in ancient epics and remains popular to this day

* "bonus dormitat Homerus" or "good Homer nods"; an indication that even the most skilled poet can make continuity errors

* "ut pictura poesis", or "As is painting so is poetry", by which Horace meant that poetry (in its widest sense, "imaginative texts") merited the same careful interpretation that was, in Horace's day, reserved for painting.

The latter two quotes occur back-to-back, near the end of the treatise.

The work is also key for its discussion of the principle of decorum (using appropriate vocabulary and diction in each style of writing).

External links

* [ Latin text of poem] at The Latin Library

* [ English translation]

* [ Text at Perseus] .

* [ Famous quotes]

Archibald MacLeish (1926)

The best known poem by Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) took its title and subject from Horace's work. His poem "Ars Poetica" contains the line "A poem should not mean/but be", which was a classic statement of the modernist aesthetic. The original manuscript of the poem resides in the Library of Congress.

Ars Poetica

:A poem should be palpable and mute:As a globed fruit,

:Dumb:As old medallions to the thumb,

:Silent as the sleeve-worn stone:Of casement ledges where the moss has grown--

:A poem should be wordless:As the flight of birds.


:A poem should be motionless in time:As the moon doth climbs,

:Leaving, as the moon releases:Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

:Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves.:Memory by memory the mind--

:A poem should be motionless in time:As the moon climbs.


:A poem should be equal to::Not true.

:For all the history of grief:An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

:For love:The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea--

:A poem should not mean:But be.

External links

* [ Poem]

* [ Image of original manuscript]

* [ Analysis of poem]

Czesław Miłosz (1961)

Nobel Prize winner Miłosz also wrote a poem with this title, though his poem has a question mark at the end of the title.

Modern Usage

The term "ars poetica" can refer to devices of metalanguage. The definition of "ars poetica" in the past decade extends to defining techniques of rhetoric, including but not limited to: writing about writing, singing about singing, thinking about thinking, etc. Stemming first from poetry on poetry, "ars poetica" is now widely used as a literary device to enhance imagery, understanding, or profundity.

Moreover, the technique of "ars poetica" was previously an attempt to capture the essence of poetry through poetry; the poet would write his poem, then step back, and his poem would become a way of knowing, of seeing, albeit through the senses, the emotions, and the imagination. In the modern century, a passage of writing or composition employing an "ars poetica" style is one that tries to capture the essence, the intrinsic value, of what it is expressing through. A song about a song, for example, would be an attempt to manifest the fleeting beauty of lyrics, notes, and dynamics.

External links

* [ Poem]
* []

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ars Poetica — (lateinisch für Dichtkunst) ist der Titel zweier Gedichte, Ars Poetica (Baczyński) von Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński (1921 1944), polnischer Dichter Ars Poetica (Horaz) von Horaz (65 v. Chr. 8 v. Chr.), römischer Dichter sowie eine Schriftenreihe des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ars poetica — ˈärs(ˌ)pōˈed.ə̇kə, ˈärz , etə̇ , ēkə noun (plural ars poeticas) Etymology: Latin Ars Poetica The Art of Poetry, poetic epistle by Horace died 8 B.C. Roman poet : a treatise on the art of literary and especially poetic composition * * * /ahrz poh… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ars poetica — Ars po|e|ti|ca [ ...ka] die; <aus gleichbed. lat. ars poetica zu poeticus »dichterisch«> Dichtkunst …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Ars poetĭca — Ars poetĭca, s. Horatius …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • ars poetica — [ärz′ pō et′i kə] n. [L] the art of poetry …   English World dictionary

  • Ars poetica — Ạrs poetica   [lateinisch »Dichtkunst«], Dichtwerk des Horaz. * * * Ạrs po|e|ti|ca, die; [zu lat. poeticus = dichterisch]: Dichtkunst …   Universal-Lexikon

  • ars poetica — /ahrz poh et i keuh, ahrs / 1. a treatise on the art of poetry or poetics. 2. (cap., italics) a poem (c20 B.C.) by Horace, setting forth his precepts for the art of poetry. * * * …   Universalium

  • ars poetica — art of poetry …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ars poetica — /az poʊˈɛtɪkə/ (say ahz poh etikuh) noun 1. the art of poetry or poetics. 2. a statement of the artistic principles espoused by a particular poet. {Latin} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Ars Poetica (Baczyński) — Das Gedicht „Ars Poetica“ von Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński wurde 1938 veröffentlicht und behandelt die Qualen des künstlerischen Prozesses am Beispiel der Lyrik. Das Gedicht besteht aus 12 Zeilen und behandelt auf freie Weise abwechselnd die Gefühle …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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