Favorite poems cut through time,
Pierce the mind with thought sublime,
some on nature, love, or life,
God, the soul, or afterlife,
some American, some Christian,
all spring from imagination.
Poetry offers a new awareness of life experience. Each poem is an act of pure creation that captures an essential insight about humanity or the transcendent. A poetic work often reflects the historical age in which it was written. For example, the Book of Psalms exemplifies Hebrew poetry, which is characterized by parallelism, a rhythmic arrangement of thought patterns. The publication of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri in 1320 signaled the beginning of the Renaissance. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth with their publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798 started English Romanticism. Coleridge considered the purpose of Lyrical Ballads was to establish two principles of poetry: "the power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty to the modifying colors of imagination." Wordsworth saw the nature of romantic poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," which "takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity." The twentieth-century poet T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets explored the questions of time and eternity and their unity in Christ through the Incarnation. We hope you enjoy these noted selections in Poetry and Prose!