Does "Kubla Khan" reflect Coleridge's definition of a Romantic poet?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is a rather interesting question to consider. I would begin answering it by focusing on the intense way in which Coleridge presents us with a poem that emerges from his imagination and feeling and intuition, qualities that were prized by Romantics. The experience of writing poetry is paralleled by the creating of the pleasure dome by Kubla Khan, and we are also presented with an incredible image of the poet which presents him as an almost prophet-like figure who is separated from other mere mortals and is in contact with the divine:

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread,

For he on honeydew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

The act of imaginative creation is one that the speaker of this poem longs to engage in, yet at the same time he recognises that to do so would make him a figure that would be regarded by awe and fear by those around him. Yet above all, this poem represents the triumph of the imagination and the kind of creations it can achieve if it is given full expression. Because of this, I would argue that this poem does reflect Coleridge's own idea of a Romantic poem.

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