All terms

What is Metaphysical Poetry?

Poetry that explores abstract ideas and spiritual themes, often using conceits and paradoxes.

Beyond the Physical: A Journey into Metaphysical Poetry

Metaphysical poetry is a genre that emerged in the late 16th century and is defined by its exploration of abstract ideas and spiritual themes.

Unlike other forms of poetry, metaphysical poetry often uses elaborate metaphors and paradoxes to express complex ideas about life, death, and the nature of reality.

Throughout history, some of the greatest poets have been considered metaphysical, such as John Donne, George Herbert, and Andrew Marvell.

To fully appreciate metaphysical poetry, one must be willing to look beyond the literal meaning of the words and delve into the deeper meanings hidden within.

Whether you're a writer or a reader, studying metaphysical poetry can help you develop a deeper understanding of the human experience and the mysteries of the universe.

Unpacking Metaphysical Poetry: Examples from Classic Literature
Metaphysical poetry has been used throughout history to explore spiritual themes, using elaborate metaphors and paradoxes to express complex ideas beyond the physical world.
John Donne's 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning'

Often considered one of Donne's greatest works, this poem uses metaphysical conceits to explore the idea of true love transcending physical distance.

The image of a compass (representing the speaker) and a fixed point (representing his lover) is repeatedly used to create a sense of interdependence and spiritual unity.

Andrew Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress'

Marvell's poem presents an argument for seizing the moment and enjoying physical pleasures while we can, but also uses metaphysical language and imagery to suggest the possibility of transcending time and death.

The poem's playful tone and unusual metaphors (such as comparing the growth of his lover's breasts to the expansion of the universe) make it a classic example of metaphysical poetry.