Part 8, cont - Fictive Certainties, The Art of Reading Poetry by Harold Bloom


Bloom's Art of Reading Poetry is not as structured and does not break down the parts of a poem as meticulously Voigt's "The Flexible Lyric" essay does. He addresses things to look for when reading a poem but the sections cover varying aspects without the compartmentalizing of Voigt's, as explained in the previous section of this paper.

In the first section of the book, Bloom examines figuration of language and classifies the four types, according to Kenneth Burke: irony, synecdoche, metonymy, and metaphor. I sought further explanation of these terms in my mammoth copy of The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. This text offers no definite explanation. “In practice is it often difficult to distinguish [metonymy] from synecdoche. Some hold that synecdoche entails a one-many substitution…whereas [metonymy] is a one-for-one replacement involving a change of intension…many critics use ‘[metonymy]’ as a generic term for both” (784). I liked the terminology used by Bloom of metonymy being a "romancing of the etonym to renew the 'finer edges' of words" (5). Regardless of the details, the section on figuration in The Art of Reading Poetry details what Voigt would classify as "texture" of a poem.

The next section of Bloom is fairly short and can be summed up by saying that it explains that language is concealed figuration while poetry is "aware of and exploits" the figuration (5). This is another aspect of texture.