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By Paul Claudel
Poetic Art is a proclamation of poetic theory, a fiat to the magnificent vocation of deciphering the mysteries of reality through the practice of poetry. Claudel counted Poetic Art among his most valuable writings—despite its relatively lukewarm critical reception—as it investigates the metaphysics of poetry and its unique power to reveal truths about God, man, and the cosmos. In the words of one scholar and critic, these pages “lift us into a region where, altogether apart from any poetic or literary purpose, we may breathe a pure and invigorating if rather rarefied air.”
The poet, master of all words, the poet, whose art it is to use them, is expert in stirring us to a state of harmonious and intense, precise and strong intelligence, by a clever disposition of the objects they represent. (Paul Claudel)
Paul Claudel (1889–1973) was a French poet, dramatist, and essayist, and a convert to Roman Catholicism. A six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Claudel achieved prominence in twentieth-century French literature for his unique prose style and powerful verse dramas. The 1924 drama Le Soulier de satin (The Satin Slipper) is widely recognized as his masterpiece.