Keats

This essay has a total of 1222 words and 7 pages.

Keats




On Choosing the Prestigious POTY Award Recipient

While reading a poem the skills applied in its creation are often easily overlooked.
However, it is the unsurpassed mastership of these skills what makes this particular poet
the most deserving recipient of this year's prestigious POTY award. John Keats possesses
unparallel poetic craftsmanship. Three of his poems: "On First Looking into Chapman's
Homer," "When I have fears...," and "Ode to Autumn" reveal his genius ness at the art of
poetry.

The first poem: "On First Looking..." displays Keats's mastership at one of the most
difficult forms of poetry: the sonnet. What makes a sonnet such a difficult form of
poetry is the fact that in each line there are five accented and five unaccented
syllables. This is difficult task to accomplish by someone of limited writing experience.
However, Keats showed his poetic genius ness by mastering this form early in his writing
career. The poem is in the form of an Italian sonnet which has a dual pattern: an octave (
1st eight lines)with a rhyming syntax of: abab abba, and a sextet (last six lines) with a
rhyming pattern of: cdcd, making a total of 14 lines. In an Italian sonnet the poet
focuses on a problem or a situation in the octave; then, in the sextet, he focuses on the
solution of the problem or the significance of the situation. In the first few lines,
Keats describes the experience of where he had been in his literary journey before
encountering "Homer": " Much have I travell'd...,/ And many ....states and kingdoms seen;"
( Keats, lines 1-2). This is giving the reader the understanding that he had read many a
great literary books. And, although he had been told about Homer: " Oft of one wide
expanse had I been told/ That....Homer ruled as his demesne," ( 5-6); it did not have the
same effect as when he read it himself: "Yet did I never breathe its pure serene/ Till I
heard Chapman speak .... :" ( 7-8). The impact this experience had on him is told in the
last six lines. First he compares himself with an astronomer discovering a new planet:
"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies/ When a new planet swims into his ken;" (
9-10) or a voyageur discovering new territory: "Or like stout Cortez when with eagle
eyes/ He star'd at the Pacific— and all his men/ Look'd .....with a wild surmise—"
(11-13). After having read the poem, the reader cannot help but feel the same awestruck
ness that overpowered Keats.

The second poem to show Keats's craftsmanship is: "When I have fear..." For the second
time, Keats chooses to display his skill as a poet by writing in the form of a sonnet,
this time being a Shakespearean one. The difference between this sonnet and the Italian
one is in the pattern. The Shakespearean sonnet has three quatrains (4 lines each) with
a rhyming pattern of : abab cdcd efef, and a couplet (2 lines) with the rhyming pattern
of: gg. This is the most difficult form of poetry to write, yet Keats shows no
difficulty in its development making one more addition to the structure: he puts his
sonnet in the form of a periodic sentence. This means that the main idea of the sentence
is at the end as it is in the poem. In the first quatrain he introduces the first part of
the idea by sharing his innermost feelings on a subject very familiar to all: Death.
Leaving this world without his work being recognized was one of Keats's greatest
emotional battles: " When I have fears that I may cease to be/ Before my pen has glean'd
my teeming brain," (Keats, 1-2) . The second quatrain expresses his anxiety of not being
able to fulfill his potential: " When I behold, ...../Huge cloudy symbols of a high
romance,/And think that I may never live to trace/ Their shadows, with the magic hand of
chance;" ( 5-8). The third quatrain is about his fear of not seeing his beloved evermore:
"And when I feel,..../That I shall never look upon thee more," ( 10-11) Finally, after
telling the world of all his fears, he comes to the conclusion that all his ambitions for
love and fame are meaningless, and in doing so, he submits to the idea that when it's his
time to go, nothing will stand in the way: "Of the wide world I stand alone , and think/
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink." (13-14).

The third glimpse at Keats's craftsmanship comes through his mastership at yet another
poetic form: the ode. In his poem " Ode to Autumn" , Keats praises the season overlooked
by most people: Autumn. In the first stanza, the reader gets a vivid picture of the
landscape by Keats focusing mainly on visual imagery:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Continues for 4 more pages >>