What is poetry?

Happy New Year.


At the start of 2013, I would like to pose the question, ‘‘What is poetry?’’

It is safe to assume that poetry is the simplest form of literary prose, but what is it? What does it mean? Is it merely a creative vehicle with which we can express our emotions, beliefs and desires? Or is it a more powerful tool that can influence change in our society?


The next three posts will examine the nature of poetry through these different aspects:

  1. Inspiration( we’ll namely look at romanticism)
  2. Protest/social criticism (Drawing from the Arab spring and other movements)
  3. Spiritually uplifting (Predominantly looking at the Book of Psalms in the bible)
  4. Creative expression(Poetry in its most maverick forms)


While these topics may not give a complete answer to the question, I feel it nevertheless invites conversation into why poetry is important and relevant in the world today.


I would like to ask readers the question, ‘‘What does poetry mean to you?”


I leave you with the poem ‘‘Of poetry’’ by Australian poet Peter Boyle


Of Poetry


Great poems are often extraordinarily simple.

They carry their openness

with both hands.

If there is a metaphor lounging in the doorway

they step briskly past.

The boom of generals

and presidents with their rhetoric manuals

will go on sowing the wind.


The great poems are distrustful of speech.


like someone very old

who has only a few hours left of human time,

they gaze into the faces around them –

one by one

they kiss love into our mouths.


© Peter Boyle from The Transformation Boat (River Road Press, 2008) http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=11264

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