Does Marianne Moore contradict herself in her poem "Poetry"?She talks about other writers not being able to write allusions but doesn't she use them herself ?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that this is a challenging question to answer.  It proves to be difficult because Moore's meaning is so elusive, able to be perceived in multiple ways.  I think that there are some premises that come out of the work which might help in answering the question.  The first is that Moore seeks to reconfigure how poetry is received.  Her closing lines that poetry's purpose has to reconfigure the world in which one lives- "imaginary gardens with real toads in them."  This helps to create the understanding that poetry has to be transformative of reality while being steeped in it.  When poetry focuses on this and moves away from "all this fiddle," real meaning is established.  To that end, allusions and other poetic devices have to be used to reconfigure truth and the way in which reality is seen.  If allusions help in this, then it is acceptable.  If allusions are not undertaken with this in mind, then they can be dismissed.  I think this is where Moore might be on this issue.