What are the characteristics of metaphysical poetry?metaphysical poets with special reference to john donne.

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Metaphysical poets did not exist as a "band" of writers. Instead, these poets were placed together (historically by Samuel Johnson) based upon the similarities of their writings. Not known to read the writings of others considered Metaphysical poets, these authors focused upon the use of metaphoric language to describe abstract ideas such as existence and truth. Highly religious based, the Metaphysical poets were determined to find ones self through their work.

John Donne was by far one of the most famous Metaphysical poets. Renowned for his religious convictions, Donne satired the mediocracy of other poets and Elizabethean topics. According to Academy of American Poets, Donne (like other Metaphysical poets) was known for "his ability to startle" and "coax new perspectives" in his readers.

According to the Academy of American Poets, the Metaphysical poets

developed a poetic style in which philosophical and spiritual subjects were approached with reason and often concluded in paradox. This group of writers established meditation—based on the union of thought and feeling sought after in Jesuit Ignatian meditation—as a poetic mode.

Basically, there are no specific characteristics to which the Metaphysical poets adhered to. Rather, it was the ideas behind their poetry which bond them together given their unnaturalness and originality.