What is poetry?

Japan 149

ENG 204 students explain that poetry is…

The extraction of concrete thoughts and ideas into an abstract meaning beyond that of the written words.

A portrait of one’s own inner thoughts unfiltered by outer forces.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious like Mary Poppins would say, poetry is like rap but more eloquent
with more complex ideas
hidden within
short and crisp lines filled with rhyme and rhythm —

A form that allows for the reader to have multiple interpretations based on current thoughts.

Poetry is writing dressed in a dinner jacket and tie.
It purposefully strides across the page to its own rhythm, reservedly exposing its intentions to the watching crowd.

Poetry is speckled wisdom transcended to us and transcribed into the written word.

— is kind of annoying
a bunch of yellow clowns huddled together inside an upside-down dumpster
trees blowing in the wind
a familiar/favorite song on the radio
a creative release of anguish pleasure despair and creating something out of feelings; letting go or holding on —

Star gazing when there’s no moon

Narcissistic catharsis.

Poetry is a little piece of the poet’s soul, expressed through words that can strike if that bit of their soul is similar enough to a piece of our own.

The manipulation of words and short phrases to convey a thought, idea, or feeling
eloquent and sounds pretty but makes my head hurt.

Poetry is artistry with words
Interpretive writing
Lyrical, rhythmical, and expressive writing

like when someone makes a basket to beat the buzzer and win the national championship only to find out the basket didn’t count because he released the ball a split second too late.

Poetry is an organized mess
Of thoughts, feelings, dreams, visions –
Poured out into puzzle pieces.
Poetry is using language to produce a feeling rather than a thought.

Poetry is –
Left for the reader to make sense of.

Poetry just is.

About Catherine Keefe

Catherine Keefe is the founding and managing editor of *dirtcakes* a journal of poetry, creative nonfiction, art and photography. Her creative nonfiction essays, interviews and book reviews have appeared nationally. She teaches undergraduates how to Write About Literature, or Write Creative Nonfiction, or Compose Self at Chapman University in Orange, CA.
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