Time Spent With the Harvard Classics: Poe – The Poetic Principle

Aloha Promises Forever has previously discussed the life and legacy of Edgar Allan Poe.  Please refer to these posts for further background.  For now, suffice it to say that Poe was born on January 19, 1809.  He passed away on October 7, 1849.  Between these dates, he was a writer, editor and literary critic.  The subject of today’s post is an essay which offers literary criticism with respect to what makes and doesn’t make a good poem.

The Poetic Principle is an essay written near the end of Poe’s life and then published posthumously in 1850.  In this essay based on a lecture previously given by Poe, he presents his literary theories with respect to poetry.  In the piece, Poe argues that poetry is art and as such its purpose is purely aesthetic.  In essence that a poem is for the sake of the poem alone.  From this perspective, I would dread to think what Poe would have thought of many of my poems.    Another perspective provided is that a poem should be shorter than longer.  In short, though I greatly admire Poe’s work, I think he would have shown mine a large degree of disdain.  That is okay to learn.  I do write many short poems as well. 😉  Then again looking at this piece, it is safe to say that Poe was hugely critical of the poets of his time as well.

You may read the essay, The Poetic Principle here:


Alternatively, you may listen to this work in an audiobook format here:






About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses and husband to Ally Romani.
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