19 August 2013

What is a poem?

During August the South Taranaki Libraries are celebrating poetry month. Have you ever really thought about what a poem is? What makes a piece of writing a poem, not a story? I had a look on Wikipedia but their explanation was quite technical. I found this on ehow.com and thought it made sense: 

A poem is an arrangement of words containing meaning and musicality. Most poems take the form of a series of lines separated into groups called stanzas.

What do you think of that as a definition of poetry? When I think of poems I think of words being used in unusual ways, or the lines being set out differently, and the writing being grouped into sets of thoughts.
My niece is a writer who has a number of published books of poetry; she’s a Professor at a University in Singapore, where she teaches creative writing. Her poems often rely on the words being set out in a particular way. I don’t always understand what she is saying, but I can hear the beauty of the words anyway.
If you don’t understand what the poet is saying does it put you off? Or do you enjoy the poetry anyway, just for the language? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.
Cath S

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