Discuss Wordsworth’s theory of poetry as propounded by him in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much of Wordsworth's philosophy of poetry is outlined in his Preface.  The idea that poetry should focus on commonplace subjects is something that Wordsworth clung to in his body of poetry.  Wordsworth sought to bring out the powerfully universal qualities in subjects that are very ordinary.  A woman in the field, a set of daffodils, or the conversation between two people in love are ordinary subjects, but ones that allowed Wordsworth to evoke some of the most powerful of images.  In his language and context, the words and choice of words are ones that reflect "language used by men."  Wordsworth wrote in a style that was approachable by common people and in this, Wordsworth sought to democratize poetry and its appreciation.  Finally, in "presenting the usual in an unusual way," Wordsworth was able to bring out the universal from the specific, the objective from the subjective, and in the process, allow his poetry to "see into the life of things" and create a new venue where poetry allows the individual to open new doors of perception.