What Is Poetry?

I thought this would be a simple question to answer. But to my demise, I am even more lost than when I embarked on this journey. This journey being about a dozen Wikipedia pages starting at “poetry” and leapfrogging to literature, language, alliterations, rhymes, rhetoric, famous poets, etc., and somehow all the way to Kevin Bacon (see Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon) in the course of about an hour.

I’ve always hated poetry. All the rules, difficult rhyming, counting syllables. Sonnet, shi, and haiku? No, thank you.  Why do I have to know the difference between a simile and a metaphor, anyway?!

Yet when I stepped back at looked it all, I realized it wasn’t about the literary devices or counting lines or even rhyming. It’s about the art. Poetry turns words into an art form. And that’s all poetry really is, right? Words (or so I thought, more on that later). But basically, poetry is putting words together to evoke a meaning and make something beautiful. Or not, poetry can be ugly too. Heck! I guess I’m still not quite sure what is poetry.

What I do know is that I would like to find out. So I’m jumping into the prose (and cons) of poetry, along with the verses and symbolisms and assonances and all those other fancy words you hear English majors throwing around to discover the art of poetry using words, words, words. I might even write a few poems of my own.


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