Discuss metaphysical poetry in regards to John Donne.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "Metaphysical Poets" or the "School of Donne" was simply a group of poets inspired by (or having works similar to) John Donne.  Metaphysics, in general, is the speculation on basic principles of knowledge and being.  Metaphysical poetry, then, deals specifically in Metaphysics.  Pretty deep stuff!  Ironically, some people accuse Donne of being "metaphysical" in order to "get physical," or to intrigue the "fair sex."  Ha!  Samuel Johnson was a critic, claiming that Donne was showing off by using only totally unrealistic paradoxes instead of getting down to the truths of knowledge and being.  Perhaps the best known member of the "School of Donne" was George Herbert who would certainly admit that, even though Donne tended toward hyperbole, Donne was also a master of wit, beauty, and perception.