Wordsworth propounded his view on poetry, its nature, its function and the characteristics of a true poet in his Preface. Apart from above-mentioned things, Wordsworth also defined the process of poetry and the process of poetic work.
Wordsworth is of opinion that poetry cannot be produced by strictly following the rules laid down by the Classicists. It must flow out naturally and spontaneously from the soul of the poet. However, it must be noted that the good poetry, according to Wordsworth, is never an immediate expression of poet’s powerful emotions. A good poet ponders over his emotions over a long period of time and deeply evaluate his collected emotions. In other words of Wordsworth, “poetry has its origin in emotion recollected in tranquillity”
For Wordsworth, the poetic process is a diminutive process. The inspiration keeps on diminishing down as accumulated at the first place. The poetic process consists of four main phases. Each phase plays very crucial role in converting an experience into a pleasing composition. The first phase is the observation of some event or something that is followed by the recollection of the emotions that were experienced earlier then poet filters down his recollected emotions and, lastly, he begins expressing his feelings and emotions by using words. Let us discuss each phase in detail.
Stage One: Observation:
First, comes the phase where observation or perception of some event/character/object plays its part. The observed incident sets up powerful emotions in the sensible mind of the poet.
Stage Two: Recollection:
Next, comes the contemplation and speculation phase in which the emotion associated with a particular event are recollected in the mind of the poet. Memory in this stage plays an important role by bringing out what has been lying in the subconscious for a long period of time.
Stage Three: Filtering:
The third phase comprises of the filtering process of the recollected emotion and feelings. In this process, poet reevaluates his emotions and remove the non-essential and vulgar elements. Poet then gives his experience a communicable form, which can be comprehended by all men.
Stage Four: Composition:
Then comes the most important phase: the final composition of the poetic experience. The poet, in this phase, seeks to convey his experience thorough words which can easily deliver his ideas to the minds of all men. In this phase, the poet becomes the communicator and communicates his emotions in a soothing manner. By the extraordinary power of expressions, the poet reflects his feelings and passions.