What are five ways the author has changed, created, or contributed poetry? Explain each answer.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While some consider Oliver Wendell Holmes an elementary poet, others regard his poetry as serious works of art with value:

An objective reconsideration of Holmes’s poetry reveals that he did indeed produce verse worthy of the admiration of serious readers of poetry...and it is doubtful that future generations of poetry readers will find them any less so.

Holmes is to be considered a poet with poetry that is valuable and worthy of study. Holmes was liberal minded and had very little patience with religious orthodoxy. His poetry is created by a highly intelligent man who is a varied in ideals type of writer. As a physician, research scientist and writer, Holmes continues to enlighten and attract his reader's interest.

Holmes did not continue to practice as a doctor due to the fact that Holmes' patients did not take him seriously. They considered his physical appearance as a major distraction. Likewise, Holmes' patients did not appreciate his sense of humor or his reputation as a poet:

Boyish-looking and short (five feet four inches), Holmes found it difficult to instill confidence in his patients; more important, they apparently did not much appreciate his lighthearted manner, his sense of humor, or his reputation as—of all things—a poet.

Holmes was established as a poet by age twenty-one:

Holmes had become famous as a poet at the age of twenty-one when, in response to a newspaper notice that the American frigate Constitution was to be demolished, he quickly wrote “Old Ironsides”—an enormously popular poem which is held to have been responsible for saving the famed warship.

Holmes poetry has proved to be worthy of collection:

A collected edition of his poetry appeared in 1836, and Holmes (like Ralph Waldo Emerson) was very successful both as a public lecturer in the 1850’s and as the remarkably obliging author of “occasional” verse (including a poem titled “For the Meeting of the National Sanitary Association”).

No doubt, Holmes is admired by most, even today, for his poetry skills. He is still considered to be very intellectual when one examines his poetry. Today, scholars still believe they have yet to expound upon Holmes' worth as a writer:

Not only did he lead a rich and productive life that spanned nearly the entire nineteenth century, helping to train several generations of American physicians, but he also produced half a dozen popular and enduring poems and a series of essays which clearly found responsive chords in the collective American psyche. In fact, it is questionable whether literary scholars and historians have even begun to determine the extent to which Holmes influenced and reflected American thought and literature in the nineteenth century.

No doubt, Oliver Wendell Holmes is remembered for six memorable poems. These poems are  “Old Ironsides,” “The Last Leaf,” “Dorothy Q.,” “The Deacon’s Masterpiece,” “The Chambered Nautilus,” and “The Living Temple.” These six poems are "surprisingly varied in theme, depth, and technical expertise."

Truly, Holmes was and is considered highly intelligent and gifted as a writer. Scholars continue to study his writing. They find Holmes to be a remarkable poet. He will continue to be an inspirational poet. He inspired and continues to inspire people for his profound ideas found in his poetry. His poetry is regarded as as a witer with a "lifelong interest in historical, scientific, and spiritual matters."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial