J. Keats’s Views on Poetry in "My City"

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 589 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 589|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

The great thing about writing, and poetry in particular, is that there can be so many meanings to the same section of text, and that it can touch so many people that the author did not even know. It can also help that author. It helps them express held in feelings that they can just not find how to express, but poetry will always be there to listen to them. And as weird as it is to put a slogan on all of poetry when I am sitting here talking about how different it is for everybody, I think that John Keats says it best with his quote, “Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject”.

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This quote from John Keats is a great representation of poetry for many reasons. Starting with the beginning of the quote, “Poetry should be great and unobtrusive”, this is a critical part if poetry is to remain as great as it is now. If poetry were to be obtrusive, than people would not write poetry from their hearts or feelings, but to gain more attention from people, which would lead to an overall decrease in meaningful poetry from writers. The second half, “a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject” is also very integral to all of poetry. As said before, poetry means many different things to many different people. If everybody read poetry in the same way, than almost all of the poem’s meaning would be washed away immediately, as interpreting a poem different ways is what gives the poem life and its ability to connect with people.

The poem, My City, illustrates this quote and its ideas as a whole wonderfully. In this poem, the narrator talks of his love for his city of Manhattan as he wonders what he would miss most about it if he were to die. He goes over nature first, thinking that he might miss the sun or the trees, before saying no, and assuring himself that the loss of Manhattan would be the greatest sorrow for himself. This connects with the quote from John Keats because Manhattan became an integral part of this narrator's soul, so much so that he would miss it more than the sun or the trees. The narrator was able to interpret and explore the city himself, and got his own personal message from the city, and from that personal meaning he got, he treasured it more dearly than anything else in the world. And this is similar to what John Keats is saying poetry should be, something that the reader can explore themselves and find their own personal meaning to. And so just as the narrator found his version of the city from exploring, the reader should get their own version of the poem as well.

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While each reader can get their own personal message from a poem, from John Keats words we can see that there should be one thing that all poetry should have in common, and that is the varying messages for individuals who just might read the poem different than the person sitting right next to them. And so while you may go along with everyone else when it comes to seeing themes in poems, make sure to find your Manhattan every once in awhile.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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J. Keats’s Views on Poetry in “My City”. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“J. Keats’s Views on Poetry in “My City”.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
J. Keats’s Views on Poetry in “My City”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2023].
J. Keats’s Views on Poetry in “My City” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2023 Dec 5]. Available from:
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