Defining poetry

On the most basic level, to understand what something is, you have to know what it is.

Definition can change from person to person depending on experience. Some interpretations of some concepts, however, remain universal despite whomever or how many times the idea is explored. One such of these concepts is the poetic concept of your era. I say “your era” because, as humanity evolves, poetry evolves with it. Since poetry’s birth in the primal minds of man, it has always been changing, just as human kind has been changing.

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Poetry is a reflection of the human mind, and therefore, a reflection of the human species. A person from a communal culture has a style of poetry that reflects a communal group attitude, while a person from an impersonal culture has poetry that reflects the experience of the individual. By examining the evolution of poetry, we better understand the evolution of humanity as a whole. Therefore, poetry is evolution. Poetry is the reflection of man.

Poetry is thought, raw and unconfined , as in free verse, or thought flowing and dancing through form. Defining poetry, however, is nearly impossible when it comes down to it. everybody knows a poem when they see one, but if asked what makes that poem, they will be flustered. Google defines poetry as a “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature” This definition, however, ignores free verse completely. The problem is that poetry is such an inherent part of the human race, that to attempt to define it is like trying to define all of humanity.

Defining poetry is like trying to convey the struggle of the lone endurance hunter in south-east africa,the struggle of a soldier in the middle east. It is trying to define the struggle and reward of being a builder for the temple of solomon, and the struggle and reward of having worked on the empire state building. It is trying to convey the pain of a starving mother in Somalia, and the struggle of a hungry Irish mother, sweltering in a potato field during a blight. Poetry is all of these and more, because poetry is humanity. Poetry can be the journey of an individual, or a study built on generations of great poets. poetry is a great equalizer, for a college student playing with free verse is just as much a poet as Robert Frost, or Thespis of the greek tragedies.

Poetry in all of its forms speaks in the same way to everyone.