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The preconceived idea of Puritans as enemies of culture and art is at odds with the voluminous production of poetry in seventeenth-century New England. One of the most important poets of the period was Edward Taylor (1642?-1729), a pastor in the then remote Westfiel province in Massachusetts. As a Puritan, Taylor conceived poetry as aiming to personal moral uplift. To Puritans, poems had a didactic function and were mostly used to explain theological issues. Taylor's large production, which was not published in its complete form until the 1960s, is certainly concerned with theology. His Preparatory Meditations were written while preparing his weekly sermon. Yet, Taylor's poems also have elaborate syntactic structures, prolongued metaphors, puns and paradoxes that bring them close to the English Metaphysical poets. Like most of Metaphysical poetry, Taylor's poems are also directly addressed to an intimate listener, in this case God.
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