The Poet, the Program and the Method

Coleridge’s ideal poet

The poet, described in ideal perfection, brings the whole soul of man into activity, with the subordination of its faculties to each other according to their relative worth and dignity. He diffuses a tone and spirit of unity, that blends, and (as it were) fuses, each into each, by that synthetic and magical power, to which I would exclusively appropriate the name of Imagination. This power, first put in action by the will and understanding, and retained under their irremissive, though gentle and unnoticed, control, laxis effertur habenis, reveals “itself in the balance or reconcilement of opposite or discordant” qualities: of sameness, with difference; of the general with the concrete; the idea with the image; the individual with the representative; the sense of novelty and freshness with old and familiar objects; a more than usual state of emotion with more than usual order; judgment ever awake and steady self-possession with enthusiasm and feeling profound or vehement; and while it blends and harmonizes the natural and the artificial, still subordinates art to nature; the manner to the matter; and our admiration of the poet to our sympathy with the poetry. (BL)

In his essays on Method, Coleridge talks about a new type of person, the one who makes knowledge their own.

In his essay on Program, Burke talks about another new type of person, the artist.

What if all of these people are one single being.  One who is able to write with their whole soul in order to help the audience bring theirs, one who is able to make knowledge their own., and one who brings beauty into being?  All of these are what we are called to be.

For example: we learn something and make it our own.  We now have knowledge.  What do we do with this knowledge, just keep it to ourselves?  We could, or…we could express it.  How can we express it, by putting our whole souls out there on the line so that the reader can bring their souls to the table as well.  By, in order words, becoming a poet.  But a poet needs to be an artist as well, to resist the incentives that urge us to become mechanized, become dehumanized…become dead (as Jasper Neel talks about in his book Aristotle’s Voice).


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