Metaphysical Poetry

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Metaphysical Poetry

By | June 2009
Page 1 of 2

Metaphysical poetry, a term coined by Samuel Johnson, has its roots in 17th-century England. This type of poetry is witty, ingenious, and highly philosophical. It topics included love, life and existence. It used literary elements of similes, metaphors, imagery, paradoxes, conceit, and far-fetched views of reality. John Donne is regarded as the “leading poet” of this highly intellectual form of poetry. Donne was influenced by the belief that the precision of beauty in the adored (loved one) behaved as a commemoration of ideal beauty in the everlasting kingdom (heaven). He also used unconventional and colloquial rhythm and tone, which was highly contrary to the Elizabethan poetry style.

Metaphysical poets : The name given to a diverse group of 17th‐century English poets whose work is notable for its ingenious use of intellectual and theological concepts in surprising conceits, strange paradoxes, and far‐fetched imagery. The leading metaphysical poet was John Donne, whose colloquial, argumentative abruptness of rhythm and tone distinguishes his style from the conventions of Elizabethan love‐lyrics. Other poets to whom the label is applied include Andrew Marvell, Abraham Cowley, John Cleveland, and the predominantly religious poets George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, and Richard Crashaw. In the 20th century, T. S. Eliot and others revived their reputation, stressing their quality of wit, in the sense of intellectual strenuousness and flexibility rather than smart humour. The term metaphysical poetry usually refers to the works of these poets, but it can sometimes denote any poetry that discusses metaphysics, that is, the philosophy of knowledge and existence.

John Donne, is remembered today as the leading exponent of a style of verse known as "metaphysical poetry”. Metaphysical poetry typically employs unusual verse forms, complex figures of speech applied to elaborate and surprising metaphorical conceits, and learned themes discussed according to eccentric and...