Friday, November 25, 2011

3:17 PM - No comments

What is Poetry?


A poem is a made thing, a verbal construct, an event in language. 


From How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry
By Edward Hirsch:


The word poiesis means "making," and the oldest term for the poet means "maker." The word poem came into English in the sixteenth century and has been with us ever since to denote a form of fabrication, a verbal composition, a made thing. 

William Carlos Williams defined the poem as "a small (or large) machine made of words." He added that there is nothing redundant about a machine. Wallace Stevens characterized poetry as "a revolation of words by means of the words."


Meter marks a poem as verse, as a made thing, a work of art. 


From Poetic Closure
By Barbara H. Smith:

Meter serves . . . as a frame for the poem, separating it from a "ground" of less highly structured speech and sound. Meter is the stage of the theater in which the poem, the representation of an act of speech, is performed. It is the arena of art, the curtain that rises and falls as well as the music that accompanies the entire performance.

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