1. Self-Consciously presenting the ideas of a “new poetry” with a “Friend” (STC) who “almost entirely” shares his opinion of poetry (377/2)

2. Says that he won’t go into detail but will only sketch it out; to go into full detail would require tracing out “the revolutions not of literature alone but likewise of society itself” (377/2)

3. Notes that he has broken the “contract” with readers used to a certain form of poetry (378/1)

4. Offers a definition of this “new” poetry (378/2): concerns human nature and employs “common language”; argues that lives led simply, in close association with nature, reflect human nature in its “elemental” form; and that we also find then “a more permanent, and a far more philosophical language” (378/2)

5. True poetry achieved by rejecting the false language of prior poetry (378/1; 380/2); rejects “personification for “flesh and blood” language.

6. Meter still matters; it disciplines what can be an excess of pleasure (383/1-2); the end of poetry is “to produce excitement in co-existence with an over-balance of pleasure”(383/2); feeling tempered by thought leads to “a complex feeling of delight,” which can convey a degree of pain

7. Believes that a new poetry will change the world in the hands of the true “Poet”; a poetic program which privileges feeling (especially sympathy with “real men” and Nature) and thought (especially memory) and a compositional style which provokes the reader into recognizing his deepest and most moral feelings

“All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: but though this be true, Poems to which any value can be attached, were never produced on any variety of subjects by a man, who being possessed of more than usual organic sensibility, had also thought long and deeply” (379/1)

Poetry that “follow[s] the fluxes and refluxes of the mind when agitated by the great and simple affections of our nature” (379/2)

8. Reiterates his definition of the Poet and his Poetry in an 1802 revision to the preface.

The Poet (capital P)

“He is a man speaking to men…endued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness. Who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul . . . [and] delighting to contemplate similar volitions and passions as manifested in the goings-on of the Universe, and habitually impelled to create them where he does not find them . . . to these qualities he has added a disposition to be affected more than other men by absent things as if they were present; an ability of conjuring up in himself passions, which are indeed far from being the same as those produced by real events, yet … he has acquired a greater readiness and power in expressing what he thinks and feels, and especially those thoughts and feelings which, by his own choice, of from the structure of his own mind, arise in him without immediate external excitement” (381-382).

Refines Definition of Poetry

“I have said that Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced and does itself actually exist in the mind. In this mood successful composition generally begins . . . ” (384/1)

9. Believes in the power of “genuine poetry” to “interest mankind permanently, and likewise important in the multiplicity and quality of its moral relations” (385/1) and so it might be worthwhile for lovers of the “old” poetry to acknowledge a different kind of poetic pleasure > the one of watching the poet’s mind at work on subjects large and small in the language of real life; intense emotion balanced by regular meter