How Poetry Makes Nothing Happen

1763 Words Oct 13th, 2014 8 Pages
1. Introduction
W.H Auden famously wrote “poetry makes nothing happen.” Do you think this accurately describes the political and social place of poetry in the twentieth century and/or the twenty first century? Explain why you agree or disagree in the case of your chosen poet, justifying your answer with close reference to your poet’s work and its reception and interpretation.
This essay examines the effects that poetry has on society, both socially and politically. Poetry has been around for centuries, and it is a common misconception that it serves no purpose. One critic in particular, W.H Auden claimed, “poetry makes nothing happen”. However poetry awakens the reader’s eyes and gives an insight to the society in which we live in today, and which has been before us. As evident in Ezra Pound’s work, as he explored the use of imagism to critique modernism and twentieth century, forcing the readers to think more about society as a whole. The purpose of this essay is to show that poetry does make something happen and can have instrumental effects on society, whether it is a poet critiquing society, or simply providing another interpretation. Poetry is a code than needs to be cracked, it is a riddle that makes the reader bring out their true creativity, which is why I disagree with W.H Auden in saying, “poetry makes nothing happen.”
2. Approach
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley – I chose to analyse this poem as it “provides a finely chiseled “portrait” of one aspect of British literary…

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