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In this context the terms "identify" and "state" have very similar meanings and can be understood to communicate the same task for a student. The challenge here is to briefly articulate the ideas and concepts that characterize metaphysical poetry. (In other contexts, the terms may differ markedly.)
Thus, you are expected to name the major themes of metaphysical poetry.
These themes include an interest in spiritual matters often relating to religious theory (i.e., theology) and also relating to "intellectual speculation" (eNotes) on issues ranging from scientific theory to the basic principles of being.
T.S. Eliot suggested that metaphysical poetry had a specific appeal in its presentation of fully felt thought or intellectual energy that had an emotional value.
Donne and his generation, according to the theory, were able to “feel their thought as immediately as the odor of a rose.”
No doubt, you have already discussed themes in metaphysical poetry in your course. So your task now is to briefly name (state/identify) those themes with clear and specific phrases.
We should note that it is the concepts and ideas within metaphysical poetry you are being asked to identify. You are not being asked to make a statement on style or to identify the unifying stylistic markers of metaphysical poetry.
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