What Is Poetry John Stuart Mill Summary

What is Poetry?

Poetry is one of the oldest and most powerful art forms, going back for thousands of years. Poetry can express emotion, describe scenes, and tell stories. It can provoke intense thought and reflection, and can be used for religious ceremonies, political discourse, and celebrating life. John Stuart Mill, an influential British philosopher from the 19th century, wrote extensively about poetry, analysing its power and its implications.

Mill asserted that poetry is the most ’emotional’ of the arts. He argued that music, painting and sculpture rely on their subordinate resources and aim to excite specific emotions through the use of scenery and other effects, but that poetry is the only art form that seeks to arouse emotions directly. Mill’s theories were heavily influential on the attitudes and beliefs concerning the nature of poetry during the 19th century, and still affect how poetry is viewed by many people today.

Mill wanted to explore poetry’s function and purpose. He saw poetry as a distillation of humanity, with the poet’s immense capacity for memory, meditation and passion helping to shape its power. This combination of extraordinary mental and emotional prowess puts the poet in the distinctive position of being both a witness to – and a participant in – its construction. This is one example of why poetry can be so evocative; it is the result of both a highly passionate individual, and universal truth.

The power of poetry, according to Mill, was derived from its innate ability to reflect human emotions, and its ability to act as a corrective for human nature. For example, some forms of poetry provide an opportunity for catharsis, allowing the writer to get rid of strong emotions in a safe, productive way. Similarly, Mill argued that poetry could help to clarify and define our feelings, making them more concrete and therefore more manageable.

To Mill, the appreciation of poetry was based upon its ability to stir up emotion in the reader. He believed that each poem was a form of truth that was capable of changing one’s view of the world. He argued that the subjective opinion of readers did not determine the beauty or value of poetry, but rather that reading and interpreting poetry could stimulate and strengthen our emotional powers.

What is Poetry in Modern Times?

Poetry has continued to be an important form of communication and art throughout history, and as society has evolved and advanced, the forms of poetry used by writers have changed too. Modern poetry often eschews traditional poetic tools such as rhyme, meter and structural conventions, in favour of more creative forms such as free verse and visual art.

The internet has also had an enormous impact on the way poetry is written, shared and discussed. Social media platforms, blogs, forums and websites provide poets with an unprecedented platform for their work. This has allowed poets to connect with a much wider audience, and create a community of poets who can support and challenge one another.

Modern poets are also experimenting with different ways of writing, such as Twitter poets, who have to condense their ideas into 280 characters or less, and spoken word poets, whose work is often amplified by the use of props and performance. In addition, technological advances such as tablets and software designed for writing poetry have made it easier than ever before to write and edit poems.

It is clear that while poetry will always be rooted in its traditional form, it is also constantly changing and evolving. New technology and social media platforms have opened up new possibilities and opportunities for poets, and allowed them to reach a much wider audience. Poets can experiment and explore different styles,and express themselves in unique ways. The work and writings of John Stuart Mill continue to be hugely influential in how we view poetry today and how it continues to evolve.

Poetry in Popular Culture

In recent years, poetry has experienced a resurgence in popularity, with famous poets such as Rupi Kaur and Nayyirah Waheed becoming global celebrities. Kaur’s bestselling poetry books and spoken word performances have been hugely popular, and have been credited with bringing poetry to a new, younger and more diverse audience. In addition, the use of poetry in popular culture, such as rap lyrics, has made it much more common and accessible.

Poetry Slams, in which poets perform their work on stage, have become increasingly popular over the last few decades. They promote the performance, appreciation and discussion of poetry, and create a space for poets to learn from one another and also to meet fans of their work. Poetry slams provide a creative platform for poets, as well as an opportunity to grow their audience and encourage engagement and conversation.

Poetry is now more popular than ever before and is widely available, in both physical and digital forms. It is accessible to everyone, regardless of their language, culture or educational background. Poetry’s popularity could be attributed to the fact that we are increasingly aware of the power of words, and see their potential to change the world.

The Impact of John Stuart Mill on Poetry

John Stuart Mill is one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century, and his writings continue to be pivotal in the fields of political theory and philosophy. His ideas have also had a profound influence on how poetry is viewed and appreciated. His work has helped shape the way in which people understand and interpret poetry, and was influential in the development of modern poetic theory.

Mill argued that poetry has a unique ability to evoke emotion, distill universal truth and act as a corrective for human nature. He asserted that reading and interpreting poetry can transform and strengthen our emotional powers, adding depth to our understanding of the world. These ideas have resonated throughout the centuries, and continue to be a driving force in how poetry is taught, read, and appreciated.

Mill’s writings also had a profound impact on the appreciation of poetry. His theories asserted that the subjective opinion of readers didn’t determine the beauty or value of poetry, and thus helped to create a space for different interpretations and styles of poetry. His work resulted in a shift in how people interacted with poetry, and helped to create a more open and progressive space.

The Significance of Poetry Today

Today, poetry is more popular and widely celebrated than ever before. It is a powerful form of communication, capable of expressing deep emotion and conveying powerful messages. Its ability to shape and influence our thoughts and feelings gives it an unrivalled power. Poetry can provide comfort and guidance, or challenge our beliefs and create space for dialogue and debate. It can also act as a powerful tool for connecting people and stimulating conversation.

John Stuart Mill’s views on poetry have had a lasting impact, not only on how poetry is appreciated, but also on how it is written. His ideas have helped to shape the way in which modern poets create and perform their work, and his influence is still seen in the emergence of new poetic forms. His writings have helped to foster a greater appreciation of the power of poetry and its significance in our lives today.


John Stuart Mill’s theories about poetry and its power have had a lasting influence, and his writings continue to be an important part of modern poetic theory. His ideas have helped to shape the way in which poetry is both viewed and created, and have helped to foster a greater appreciation of poetry and its importance in our lives today. Poetry has never been more popular or widely celebrated, and its power to change the way we think and feel is unrivalled.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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