Romantics saw a poet as a priest,teacher,or master.Do people see poets this way today or are they viewed and valued differently?
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The days of poets who make a living writing poetry are generally gone, I think. Oh, we have a few, as mentioned above, but society doesn't value poetry in a way that will support many poets. Instead, the poets of today are songwriters and lyricists. Music is the one place we can still hear and respond to poetry; and to that extent, more people than ever are actually students of poetry. A song is, in essence, a poem set to music. We sometimes get it wrong and praise the musicality or the musician, but what we're really responding to is the poetry.
Bob Dylan, whom Johnny Carson felt was the greatest poet of his era,
Do not create anything. It will always be misinterpreted, and it will follow you.
These lines are very telling of our times. People do not wish to hold up the poet; they simply wish to be satiated, and satiated for the unthinking moment. Someone else can do the thinking.
Poets, today, are viewed differently but not so much from the respect of what they are but from the perspective of what venue they use to express themselves. Certainly, there are still poets publishing today (such as Maya Angelou) who are "well-known" to an extent, but poetry has shifted to a different venue - the radio. If you think of songs as poems set to music, then I would argue that poets are seen as priests, teachers, and masters. Look at the following that music artists today engender, and look at the structure of the lyrics and the messages that those lyrics express. If that is not modern poetry, then I am not sure what is! When I teach American Lit to my college classes, I always close with the poetry of Tupac Shakur. The man was a genius - an amazing lyric poet who gained an almost religious following, who spoke of all that was wrong with his world, and who spoke in a way that young people understood. Today, poets are striving to merge literature with music (such as Nikki Giovanni's project "Hip Hop Speaks to Children" which sets poetry to rap beats). Poets still serve many of the same functions and fill many of the same voids today, they just do it a bit differently!
Poets in the past, in some countries and in some times, not everywhere at all times by any means, held places in societies like you mention. Today, music in many forms plays that role. Poets of the romantic period have been compared to the rock stars of today, for instance.
In the past, written words were much more accessible than listened-to music, for obvious reasons; especially once the printing press was developed. Today, music is available any time, any place.
Unfortunately, most music listened to on the radio, at least, contains low-quality lyrics. The music may be high quality, I don't know, that's not my field. But the lyrics are filled with trite ideas, trite language, and cliches. The quality of lyrics is very low. Of course, the quality of ideas presented is also low, as is the amount of thinking and reasoning required to understand and appreciate the music. The story is told that the song, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (I have no idea if that's the exact title), was written in twenty minutes. The story was told with great pride in the speaker's voice. There's certainly no reason why the lyrics should have taken more than twenty minutes. No one should be surprised about that.
Imagine a world in which people everywhere listened almost constantly to the world's greatest poetry? I believe most social, economic, and political problems of the world would disappear quite quickly.
In today's post-war, post-globalisation scenario, things are far more complex than traditional role-playing. The priest and the teacher do no longer enjoy the status of a revered master. In the last hundred years or so, poets have been more and more figuring in such roles as of observers/commentators, of critics, activists, voices of social-moral conscience. In today's societies, simple faith or hope fails to carry us through in the enormously zig-zag course of life. The poet has to be a social critic and commentator; he/she has to come down to the very heat of the everyday life; no ascetic aloofness is appropriate for his/her function as a poet.Two Great Wars have done away with the old world of man:'the days of rhymed rattles have gone'.With the end of all grand narratives, standing at the dead end of history, all traditional roles shall have to be re-allocated.
The station of the poets belongs to a world that in all ages remain the same .The romantics , say ,-Blake , Shelly , Yeats , Eliot , Coleridge , and even Wordsworth , look upon life in their own ways , but in respect of imagination and feeling , they are all escapists .Many scholars will not agree to en-crown Eliot a romantic poet . But an in-deep-study of his poems ,-The Waste Land , The preludes , and the poetic drama ,-The Murder in the Cathedral , would certainly convience them that Eliot at bottom is a romantic .The same is applicable to W.B Yeats .Dylan Thomas , another modern poet in his approach shows signs of Romanticism .
Now the idea of of a priest a , master , or a teacher, is a traditional one .The hero-worship , as Carlyle stresses , remains in every man .A film-star , a player , a musician ,and a magician win thousands -hearts by their crafts , and become a hero .The culture of poems as ever been regarded as inspiring tonic of civilization .For , a poet humanizes a man , evoking imagination , and instigating feelings .
People and the poets at bottom are men and women .But the poets are path-finders , and the people follow them .In this respect I think that people would always respect and hon our the poets , as priest, teacher , and master .
When John Keats gave up the practice of medicine in 1816 to be a poet, imagine what a contemporary parent would say to that if their child said the same thing. I don't believe that poets command as much respect as those poets of yester year, nor do they command the following as that of the more modern TS Elliot. Poets are considered nowadays to be a fringe society, living on the edge--whatever one may consider the fringe or edge.I believe that the majority of poets have degrees in English or English Literature, much more educated in the field than of prior poets who simply enjoyed it as a hobby or love of writing.
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