What should poetry be?

Art, creativity, rhyme, rhythm, rule breaking?

Or perhaps… starving artists, writing blocks, free verse, and prose poetry. 

When I think of poetry, I think of moments.

Instances and distances, captured in crisp clean words, sharp as a sword, slicing through inhibitions. Swerving around discomfort, sliding into its oil-smeared language sheath. 

Poetry resounds.

Echoes through chambers, giving voice to gassed creatures, tongueless beings, tortured souls. 

Poetry nurtures.

Comforts the pained, strained, and the maimed. Speaks to innermost feelings, gently, as lathering lotion on sun-scorched skins.

Poetry heals.

Remembers the forgotten, acknowledges slaps and punches that broke the bones.  Respects with solemnity—a bandaid for moving on.

Poetry lives.

Smiles at similes, accidental puns, and misheard metaphors. Thrives in you and me, in sharing of friendship even in darkest of times.

Poetry loves.

Gives a piece of one to another, faithful, unfailing. Opens doors and arms to worlds only believers can imagine.

Poetry… is.


Over the weekend, I attended a poetry festival called Poetry on the Move. One of the panel discussions was what poetry is and what it should be. This is my response, inspired by many interesting thoughts. Some more of my musings from the festival: What’s the value of poetry? and Labels.

One thought on “What should poetry be?

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