Metaphysical Poetry: Definition, Characteristics & Examples: Definition of Metaphysical Poetry
You've probably heard of haikus, lyrical poems and limericks. All of those types of poetry have specific qualities that allow us to group them together. Metaphysical poetry is a little bit different. The poems classified in this group do share common characteristics: they are all highly intellectualized, use rather strange imagery, use frequent paradox and contain extremely complicated thought. However, metaphysical poetry is not regarded as a genre of poetry. In fact, the main poets of this group didn't read each other's work and didn't know that they were even part of a classification. Literary critic and poet Samuel Johnson first coined the term 'metaphysical poetry' in his book Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1179-1781). In the book, Johnson wrote about a group of 17th-century British poets that included John Donne, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, Andrew Marvell and Henry Vaughan. He noted how the poets shared many common characteristics, especially ones of wit and elaborate style. What Does Metaphysical Mean?
The word 'meta' means 'after,' so the literal translation of 'metaphysical' is 'after the physical.' Basically, metaphysics deals with questions that can't be explained by science. It questions the nature of reality in a philosophical way. Here are some common metaphysical questions:
Does God exist?
Is there a difference between the way things appear to us and the way they really are? Essentially, what is the difference between reality and perception? Is everything that happens already predetermined? If so, then is free choice non-existent? Is consciousness limited to the brain?
Metaphysics can cover a broad range of topics from religious to consciousness; however, all the questions about metaphysics ponder the nature of reality. And of course, there is no one correct answer to any of these questions. Metaphysics is about...
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