Emerson's Essays By Ralph Waldo Emerson Summary and Analysis of The Poet Paragraphs 30-33 - The Poet and America

In this final section, Emerson reflects on the need for a true poet of the American experience who can be to Americans what Shakespeare is to the British, and what Dante is to Italians. Such a poet has not yet emerged. ("The Poet" was published eleven years before the publication of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, who is generally recognized as an answer to Emerson's call for an American poet, just as Robert Frost might be considered a contemporary example of what Emerson is seeking.) Emerson calls for a new American poetics that reveals the nature of this new continent, just as in "The American Scholar" he calls for a new philosophy commensurate with the new world.

The last two paragraphs express an almost ecstatic invocation of the poet: Always the diligent craftsman, Emerson's invoking the muse reminds us of Greek mythology and returns us to the essay's epigraphs. He bids his idealized American poet to rise to new heights of expressiveness and insight.

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