Poetry bridges the gap of rationalism and irrationalism in the modern age

Terry Eagleton:

The modern age has been continually divided between a sober but rather bloodless rationalism on the one hand, and a number of enticing but dangerous forms of irrationalism on the other. Poetry, however, offers to bridge this gap. More than almost any other discourse, it deals in the finer nuances of meaning, and thus pays its dues to the value of reasoning and vigilant awareness. At its best, it is a supremely refined product of human consciousness. But it pursues this devotion to meaning in the context of the less rational or articulable dimensions of our existence, allowing the rhythms, images and impulses of our subterranean life to speak through its crisp exactitudes. This is why it is the most complete sort of human language that one could imagine – though what constitutes language, ironically, is exactly its incompleteness. Language is what there is always more of.

How to Read a Poem


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