What is Poetry?

Kelly Sauer Pear

As I began sifting through possible poems for this month’s Every Day Poems, I got very excited about our new theme: What is Poetry?

Poetry is, of course, art put into lines. Lines that might rhyme or tap out a beat, and that take advantage of intriguing aspects of our language: image and sound wrapped up in metaphor, simile, and metonymy, to name a few devices.

Beyond this simple description of what-poetry-is, I like the goal of poet Major Jackson, “to be inside a poem and to be vulnerable and to make it art.” This suggests that the best poetry may be that which is infused with the human.

Mostly, as I gathered the month’s poems, I was struck by how poetry itself best answers the question, “What is poetry?” I found a host of answers tucked inside verse: poetry is a bowl, a net, a defense, a reach for the immortal.

As we explore this month’s theme together, I hope you’ll try to answer the question in your own “What is Poetry?” poems. If you do, please feel free to share your post links on our Facebook Wall, where, as a kind of beautiful cyber-graffiti, the links might stack up to form their own kind of poetry.

Post by L.L. Barkat. Visit L.L. at Seedlings in Stone, for more on writing, poetry, art and life. Photo by Kelly Sauer. Used with permission.

Subscribe to Every Day Poems— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In September we’re exploring the theme: What is Poetry?

Every Day Poems


  1. says

    The sestina that I wrote last month comparing that form to a hawk seems relevant here. For those of us who watch birds intently, there are constant analogs to poetry in their flights, movements, and quiet presence in our landscapes.

  2. Nia~ says

    I am an educator and love the art of expression through writing. I would like to join your group and learn about poetry writing and publishing.
    What is Poetry to me?

    Poetry is life
    the essence of one’s being…

  3. L. L. Barkat says

    Yes, Connie! Poetry should bring a physical reaction of some kind, or we haven’t quite gotten to the level of “poetry,” I think.

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