Have you ever tried to define poetry? That’s part of my task for a seminar class I’ve been asked to teach in … ohmygosh! ... five days! Almost time to panic, folks!
I’ve worn the Internet out searching for what I’m beginning to think doesn’t exist. A definition, that is. Not poetry. Seriously. Look at some of the definitions I’ve cobbled together, paraphrasing for clarity, and you’ll understand why.
Poetry is artistically produced words that evoke intense emotion or an Ah Ha! experience from the reader.
An “Ah! Ha! experience”? Isn’t that what you have just before you sneeze?
Poetry doesn't like fixed definitions. If you really want to know what poetry is, read it. Read it carefully. Pay attention. Read it out loud. Now read it again. That's your definition of poetry.
Heh! Heh! That little bugger can’t define it either! Try sneaking that one past your Creative Writing teacher.
Poetry is writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm. (ChaCha)
Somebody squeezed Mr. Roget … reeeal hard.
Poetry visually conveys the poet's meaning through the graphic arrangement of letters, words, or symbols on the page. (ChaCha)
Mr. Shakespeare may have something to say about that one.
The only things that separate bad poetry from bad prose are arbitrary line breaks and mawkish sentimentality. (Anon)
Ah! Ha! Something I can understand. I feel so much better now. Don’t you?