What Poetry Ain't

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What Poetry Ain't

Post by Z on Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:59 pm

(I'm still working on this site...and I'm still working on this article...so it'll be good to check back from time to time.)

If you want guidance writing poetry, skip down to where it says Poetry Rules of Thumb, but I you'll take the time to read about what poetry really is --- its probably different than what you've heard before.

I will not tell you what poetry is or isn't, no one can do that, and anyone that says otherwise is either ignorant, deluded, or both.Poetry is, in some ways, whatever any group of us say it is.

Art in general (and poetry specifically) isn't like a brick wall, something we can say "well, it has bricks, mortar, and it's a wall...so.."

A friend of mine once told me that there is a word the Japanese language (which I've forgotten because I'm old) that names an emotion one feels watching geese flying over a lake at sunset. We all know what that emotion feels like, though we don't know the word.

Poetry is like that.

Most of us hearing or reading a poem, know that's it's a poem. We don't need to consult a dictionary, or call one of our old English teachers. There are as many definitions of the word "poetry" as there are readers and writers of poetry. My favorite definition is Emily Dickinson's:

If I feel physically as if
the top of my head
Were taken off,
I know that is poetry

Our purpose isn't to write poetry for English teachers or experts. Our purpose is to write poetry that moves us, that expresses us. Our goal, is to blow people away with the power and emotion of our meaning, and the energy of our words.

Poetry is what we say it is ... let's say that, whatever else, it should blow us away.

(to be continued)

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