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June 14, 2007

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Paris Parfait

I think poetry takes complex subjects and distills them into something clear and understandable - although much of the joy of poetry is found reading between the lines or in double entendre. Poetry is proof that it doesn't take hundreds of words to make a point. And poetry expresses emotions that are not so easily revealed in day-to-day routines. It allows the mind to pause, to slow down, think and savour the words as opposed to skimming through a document or newspaper article to get the gist of the story. Poetry is life crystallised into a few words - words that draw the reader in with their imagery, tell a story and invoke emotions.

Crafty Green Poet

I would agree with Paris Parfait. I would also add: good poetry can take the personal and make it universal. It can highlight specific details and give insights into bigger issues.

EKSwitaj

Poetry, in its ideal form, uses form and structure to create nuance and meanings that prose can't quite reach. And it sings while doing so.

gautami

paris summed it up very well. Sometimes it takes us into inner journey within ourselves. Poetry gives us the freedom for expression.

rel

Kristin,
POEM; Praise of emotional moment.
For me, poems strip away the adornmaent of beautiful but superfluous words. They leave me with the purity of nakedness.
If a poem uses an old, odd, or unfamiliar language, vocabulary, or vernacular, then I'm left with the music; the rythmn of the verse, the sound of the words.

Prose is the flowery prom frock, poetry the simple black dress.
rel

Rob Kistner

Kristin - Everything stated by my esteemed colleagues to this point is extremely well focused at the gist of poetry.

I want to make two quick observation about the comment you received that started this thread.

1. sounds like the author of the comment has never read free verse, or did not understand it was poetry when they read it.

2. try as we may to touch the heart and soul of poetry in a conversation, and explanation to someone not attuned to poetry -- some folks just don't get poetry.

My wife is a brilliant artist, and fine craftswoman who creates startling contemporary fiber sculptures. She also reads constantly and loves the novel. I write poetry all the time and have poetry books all over the house. She doesn't 'get' poetry, and never will.

I truly believe that there must be some kind of internal 'wiring', for lack of a better term, that makes some people highly receptive the the magic of poetry.

This make sound exclusive, or haughty, or even wrong to others -- but it just seems to be that way.

I love jazz! My very best friend for 45 years absolutely loves music. Can't stand jazz -- and I've tried my whole life to help him 'get' it. He never will. His internal wiring doesn't resonate with jazz.

Jazz, poetry -- same thing... i believe you either will be susceptible to it, and 'get' it -- or you won't. ;)

This turned out to be a huge post! If it's too much Kristin feel free to delete it -- no hard feelings from me.

Eric

"sounds like the author of the comment has never read free verse, or did not understand it was poetry when they read it."

Actually, I've always enjoyed Frost's The Road Not Taken, and if that is a cliche, so be it.

It is not that I am incapable of enjoying -- I have, and if I sought it out, I would probably appreciate it even more. But that is more to my point. I do not seek it out.

I used to appreciate it a little more when I was a teenager, because I saw the similarities to song lyrics.

But much like my teenage infatuation with fantasy novels, as I grew into adulthood I shifted more towards sci-fi.

I think it may just be one of those things where at one time I had a stronger appreciation for poetry, but "grew out of it" a little -- as we are wont to do with things we enjoyed as youths.

I also see similarities betwen poetry and philosophy. They are both the red-headed stepchildren of society in that society often does not have an active 'functional' use for them, which I suppose is a shame as they often present filters for the truth, to paraphrase some of the previous comments.

Thanks for answering. I was merely curious as to what drives people to seek poetry out, and I think I've got that answer.

KG

First of all, thanks to EVERYONE who responded. WOW! All of you together created something truly enlightening regarding the nature of poetry. I loved reading these comments.

Second, thanks to Eric for the "reveal". (See comment above.) He asked the questions about poetry which inspired this post, and I'm glad he did — it's been very interesting.

Third, I'd like to thank technology — blogging, in particular — for helping to make all of this possible. ;)

KG

Paris Parfait — You wrote: "...although much of the joy of poetry is found reading between the lines or in double entendre." Absolutely! Do you have an example?


Crafty Green Poet — You wrote: "...good poetry can take the personal and make it universal." Yes! I'd love an example of this from you, too...


EKSwitaj — Thanks for your first comment here, and on this topic. Nice to "meet" you. You wrote: "...And it sings while doing so." :)


gautami — Poetry does seem freeing somehow -- reading it AND writing it. I never thought of it that way before...thank you. Profound.


rel — Between your POEM acronym and the dress analogy, I'm reeling (in a good way). Such strong images; these would be good for poetry teachers to use to make this genre more accessible to students.


Rob Kistner — No word restrictions here; keep going! ;) You have a very interesting theory about being "wired" to enjoy poetry, and it seems to make a lot of sense. I'd love to know which part of the brain loves poetry. I wonder if there will ever be a brain-map of people's likes/loves/dislikes.

Crystal

I would also add for a person who doesn't claim to "get" poetry, that actually *hearing* it rather than reading it might make a world of difference. It can make the words more accessible, visual and understandable to hear them rather than to try and make sense of them on the page.

I read my husband poetry at night when we are going to sleep. He doesn't always get into the poems the way I do but he can appreciate the cadence, the sounds and the visual snippets that flow from hearing them read. You would never catch him reading poetry...unless it was mine, probably, and only then because there is a sense of connection and probably a little bit of obligation. :)

KG

Crystal — I'm so glad you brought up spoken word. Poetry slams and readings have brought the genre to a whole new audience, and to a wider level of publicity and acceptance.

Crafty Green Poet has a brilliant book review re: spoken word poetry at her blog (click on above link) if you're interested.

Tammy

Tara & Rel nailed it! I'm a newbie that just had the poetry light flipped on. :)

KG

Hi Tammy — Excellent! (BTW, I always thought you were a poetry pro.)

Crystal

ooooo will definitely check it out, thanks for the tip, Kristin!

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  • My name is Kristin Gorski. I recently earned my doctorate (EdD) in instructional technology and media. My research focuses on technology and literacies, writing in digital spaces, and how media literacy may support academic literacy (among other incredibly interesting topics). On occasion, I’m also a freelance writer and editor. “Write now is good.” is my personal blog about writing, creativity and inspiration (with healthy doses of technology in relevant places). I started it in blogging's heyday (2006) and still post to it, time permitting. If you'd like to collaborate on a project, have writing/technology/creativity info to share, or want to say, "Hi," contact me at kgwritenow (at) yahoo dot com. To read more about me, click on the "ABOUT" link below.

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