Do you agree or disagree with: Modernist poetry really has no specific structure or form. Therefore, it may not be as effective as traditional poetry.Support your opinion with a discussion of the...

Do you agree or disagree with: Modernist poetry really has no specific structure or form. Therefore, it may not be as effective as traditional poetry.

Support your opinion with a discussion of the characteristics of modernist poetry. You may wish to mention characteristics of the imagists as well.

Expert Answers
katemschultz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I don't wish to speak in generality, I have found most modernist poetry inaccessible--that doesn't mean someone else wouldn't find it brilliant and amazing.  There are several pieces of modern poetry that I love, but most of them leave me (and my students) with a feeling that something important happened, but we don't know what.

While older poetry is less accessible in it's language and allusions, the confines it was given is what makes it more astounding.  Modern poets can and do whatever they wish--and sometimes that's a more difficult task than one first realizes.  When writing in a form that is dictated (say, a sonnet or haiku) the limitation prove to stretch the creativity to fit the form.  It give the poet more time and energy to focus on the words and the meaning, rather than the structure.

If poetry becomes less about structure and more about doing whatever in any form the poet likes, where does the line between prose and poetry exist?  If I write something that's a page long with no line breaks except at the margins where they would normally break, with no rhyming and no meter, can I call that a poem?  Because I've certainly seen things like that called poems. And I don't buy it.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Modernist poetry can be very difficult to understand. Structure and form in modernist poetry is really just more flexible than other types of poetic styles.

I would disagree with the statement that it may not be as effective as traditional poetry. I think that all poetry is a writers way of expressing feelings to convey an idea or feeling. I think that saying it is not as effective is an insult to the writer because it has just as much feeling as traditional poetry, it is just written in a different form.

Characteristics of modern poetry include free and open verses, fragmentation, and often multiple points of view are used. These are some of the reasons why is is sometimes difficult to understand.

hannahshychuk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that depends entirely on your definition of the word "effective." Poetry, like other literary forms, is far too complex to reduce to a simple "effective" or "not effective" dichotomy, at least without defining the term more carefully. Modernism is generally very experimental, and therefore may be, and often is, more difficult to understand than more traditional forms of poetry. This experimentation allows for some fantastic, interesting, and complex forms and messages, to which some readers respond very well. Others, of course, prefer traditional poetry, but I do not think either is more effective than the other; they just cater to different tastes.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poetry is essentially images and language which appeal to the senses, poetry in any era or in any form which does this is effective.  I fear we've got too few real readersof poetry today, people who don't appreciate imagery and language as they once did.  We've gotten so absorbed in doing and understanding things quickly, and the richness and depth of poetry--even modern poetry--takes time and reflection. 

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course modern poetry is just at effective.  It's about rhythm and delivery of message...not about rhyme scheme and specific meter or other rigid aspects of form.  The meaning is either there or it isn't, AND if it's not there for one person, that doesn't mean the meaning isn't there for someone else with a different set of values, life experiences, etc. 

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Effective" how? You would have to define this better before you could make an argument one way or the other. I'm assuming you are preparing to write a paper on this topic, and I think you would have to narrow that "effectiveness" label before you even take a stand. Effective in message, or as lyrical language?

Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Modern poetry can be just as if not more effective than traditional poetry.  It has more freedom and therefore more options.  It is also less artificial.  There are reasons why modern poets don't write exclusively in traditional forms.  And one of those reasons is to avoid the artificiality.

nusratfarah | Student

Whatever be the structure of a modern poem, there is a hidden meaning, and rhythm of course. Even, that particular structure bears a significance. That beauty and meaning can not be interpreted by traditional readers. Nonetheless, the modern poems are very singular and you have to go through the lines for better understanding. Take Eliot as an example. His The Waste Land is seemingly a fragmented poem, but this is a very important poem in the context of the modern age.

stella-lily-rothe | Student

I feel that any device that allows one to express an emotion or event is wonderful.  I don't enjoy modern poetry with the passion I do traditional and Romantic poetry, but it expresses itself cleanly and oftimes very beautifully.  It is concise, often elegant, and very, very honest.  I appeciate that, although I do enjoy the profuse imagery and grace of older poems. 

dixon349 | Student

Although a better reply would be based upon your definition of "effective," I do believe that Modernist poetry is equal to any other particular genre as lyrical language. The beauty of Modernist poetry is that one must know popular culture references from the era in which the poet lived. I have really enjoyed American Marianne Moore's poems and her 1960s references. T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" is one of my best 5. And, I say this when 17th-century British poetry is my favourite era. Don't let the Modernist label stop you from enjoying some wonderful poetry.

kc4u | Student

Modernism in any genre relates to experimentalism and literary avant garde and it intends to break away from populism. Modernist poetry, for example the poetry of T.S.Eliot and Ezra Pound, aims to be 'effective' in many complex ways compared the poetry of the Romantics and the Victorians. Yes, it experiments vigorously with the poetic forms, language and versification. It brings into the domain of poetry the disturbing fragmentation and ennui of life, often doing away with the rhythmical sweetness and the regularity of the traditional forms. I am not prepared to believe that 'The Waste Land' is any less 'effective' than Shelly's 'Ode to the West Wind'. Formlessness of much Modernist poetry is indicative of the formlessness of our lives as 'heaps of broken images'.

jacobdaniel | Student
i feel modernist poetry is d best one among all d poetries coz it shows d modern world which is getting dehumanized wid time