Defining modern poetry with some specifications is a daunting task. However, a long and ongoing journey unlocks some traits. And identifying this poetic phase with the term ‘poetry of revolt’ unfolds one of the many meaningful traits.
Both staunch readers of poetry and poetic experts identify modern poetry as the acute poetic phase bearing a sense of uprising. They even opine that it had to be so.
It is undeniable that the beginning of the nineteenth century witnessed the ending era of the long-used poetic vocabulary. The age even observed how the long poetic concept of acute romance embraced a change. It noticed how the poetic content became identifiable with the essence of humanitarianism and philosophy.
Moreover, an ethos of political sense like democracy and propaganda became identifiable in the subject of modern poetry. And several critics, even today, take this as an opportunity to criticize this specific poetic era.
However, the said conversion, for sure, was not purposeless. The repetitive use of the same poetic vocabulary for a long time uncovered the need for a change. In truth, using similar words repetitively created tediousness among the readers. As a result, rejuvenation in the language of poetry emerged as indispensable.
Even the limited scope of poetic subject matters urged for expansion. In short, a switch from monotony to freshness emerged inevitable. And this process of rejuvenation was possible only by a deep jerking like the influx of the poetry of revolt. But the entry did not appear easy.
In truth, the arrival travailed amidst severe protests. Criticism flooded to condemn modern poetry due to the inclusion of revolt. The modern poets even got criticized as the product of half-educated mediocre. Eminent English poet Alfred Noyes’s words, “a general flood of half-educated mediocrity,” indicate this fact.
Furthermore, famous literary critic Roy Campbell defined modern poetry as “an epidemic of intellectual and emotional diarrhoea.”
It is true that a significant portion of modern poetry still appears as experimental. And many bear only short-lived value. In addition, the eccentric nature of many of these modern creations seems merely symptomatic of a specific desire that emerged to bring a change. Nevertheless, opposite views are present to support the need and significance of modern poetry.
According to these viewpoints, every poetic era witnesses immaturity and tenuity in forming thoughts and addressing efforts to some extent. And so, identifying a specific phase like the modern age as the only bearer of these characteristics is unacceptable. The reality is these apply to all ages.
The supposed deficiency of knowledge and potentiality to sprout sustained thoughts among modern poets is a mere misconception. And this illusion has now emerged as a half-baked fact with no meaning.
The most popular and acceptable part of modern poetry is several modern poets act with intellectuality. Their words never embrace excess impulse in poetry. For example, even today, eminent English scholar Alfred Edward Houseman’s refined and polished diction attracts readers. No doubt, this polished perfection of Houseman owes a lot to his extraordinary power of classic thinking.
Another famous modern poet Thomas Hardy successfully blended his thought with a meaningful architectural form and made his shorter lyrics look matchless.
A thousand examples show that modern poetry has the persuasive authority to attract readers. It specifies an era that gives birth to a sense of extraordinary poetic potentiality. In a word, it unlocks an unending path of knowledge and learning.