While ‘Ode on a Grayson Perry Urn’ can be a challenging poem for many students, there is a huge range of opportunity for analysis, and the links to such an important Romantic poem make this a really interesting one to study; not just as part of the exam course, but also for interest through how it draws inspiration from across English Literature. The poem would work very well as a comparison to other poems that have the society and culture theme, such as ‘Please Hold’ , ‘Look We Have Coming to Dover!’ and ‘History’ .
Why did Keats choose the nightingale's song as the basis of meditation in this poem? Is he drawing upon its traditional associations or not? Such critics as Helen Vendler believe that in the choice of music Keats finds a symbol of pure beauty, non-representational, without any reference to ideas, to moral or social values. The nightingale's song is vocal, but without verbal content, and can serve as a pure expressive beauty. Others have argued that it represents the music of nature, which can be contrasted with human art, verbal or musical.