From the prose essay, Unknowing Lyric by Matthew Bevis:

When experiencing wonder, it feels as though we know something without quite being sure of what we know. (You know how it is, when you don’t quite know what the “it” is.) Since Aristotle noted in the Poetics that wonder is central to poetic art, many have made similar claims: in the 1550s Antonio Minturno — the first writer to treat the lyric as a genre on par with the epic and the dramatic — wrote that “no one can be called a poet who does not excel in the power of arousing wonder”; four hundred years later, Auden claimed that “whatever its actual content and overt interest, every poem is rooted in imaginative awe.” While lyrics may come from a wondrous unknowingness, they don’t seem able to rest with or in a state of “not precisely knowing not.” On the one hand, the work of lyric poems testifies to a need for abstraction, or sense, or knowledge, to a need to go over experience in order to seek out a certain distance and clarity. But even as the poem undertakes this expressive work, the embodied motion of the seeking seems to recommit poet and reader to bafflement, immersion, confusion. This mixed state of affairs helps to account for the coalescence of excitement and pathos — the beautiful and the bleak — one often feels in lyric encounters. Lyrics contain an elegiac feeling: one revisits experience, seeks a shape in which to know it, but the shape that is created brings with it wonder at the fact that no experience can ever quite be known. Lyrical abstraction reconnects us to, and re-alienates us from, our experience in a single moment.

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