William Wordsworth on Pleasure as the Shared Heart of Poetry and Science

WordsworthTrue poetic practice implies a mind so miraculously attuned and illuminated,” wrote Edward Hirsch in his meditation on how to read a poem, “that it can form words, by a chain of more-than coincidences, into a living entity.”“Poetry makes possible the deepest kind of personal possession of the world,” James Dickey asserted in his essay on how to enjoy poetry. And yet it is part of the mesmerism of poetry that the exact mechanism by which it grips the soul remains ever-elusive. But in the preface to the second edition of his 1798 Lyrical Ballads, found in the fantastic 1938 anthology The Harvard Classics: Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books, celebrated poet William Wordsworth makes an admirable effort to illuminate its mysteries as he considers the nature, purpose, and intricate art of poetry, and its relation to science:

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