Coleridge has very minutely differentiated between poetic genius and poetic talent. Poetic genius is inborn, while poetic talent can be acquired and cultivated. He makes genius identical with imagination and talent with fancy. Poetic genius is creative like imagination and talent merely combinatory like fancy. Poetic genius is characterised by the following four factors:
(1) Power of Imagination - Poetry is the product of imagination working on the objects of human life and nature. Therefore the first requisite of Poetic genius is the power of imagination. It is this power of imagination which infuses life, spark and beauty into the objects of the external world. The poetic genius transforms the inanimate or cold objects into 'living entities' infused with life and light.
(2) Depth of Thought and Emotion - A poet of real genius is endowed with the deep power of thought and emotion. Poetry is the expression of the poet's thought and emotion and his genius gives them shape, beauty, and grandeur.
(3) Shaping power of Imagination - The poetic genius of the poet takes shape by his power of imagination. The poet's genius would remain mute and submerged until his power of imagination gives it shape and sound. Poetic genius cannot express itself except through his power of imagination.
(f) Instinct for Musical Delight - The basic function of poetry is to give aesthetic delight. Poetic genius must be accompanied by the poet's natural faculty of musical delight.
The four factors characterize the poet's poetic genius without which he cannot be a poet.