What is poetry?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

I recognized the untitled book when I was cleaning out an old desk in the attic. It had been almost 50 years, but I knew what it was even before I opened the first page. Memories surged through me as I sat down to read the poetry journal written by a young idealistic and romantic teen –Me!  Many of the poems were collected in high school, some in college and some just before I was married.

What is poetry and why does it stir the heart?

There are two definitions of this genre -one is noteworthy of a “Jeopardy” question and the other is akin to what, I suspect, we all feel. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary states that a poem is “a composition in verse” and Joan Walsh Anglund says that “poetry is the silent singing each man sings within his own heart.”

There are 50 – yup, you read that right – 50 types of poems. Some of these are familiar: Haiku, free verse, Epic, ballad, sonnet, acrostic, Elegy, limerick, ode, and visual. Some of the types I never heard of: sound, senryu, rhyme royal, and pastoral. (Walt Whitman??)

My poetry journal, as written all those years ago, has 50 poems in it. I will share some with you over the next few weeks. Next week we’ll talk about keeping a Poetry Journal.

~Sallie

“By any other name”

By Helen Marshall

To seek the heights and depths of thought

And pause in silence there;

Some call it meditation –

I like to call it prayer.

To look out on the troubled world

And find the true and fair;

Some call it contemplation –

I like to call it prayer.

To give oneself for others,

To lift and love and share,

Some call it consecration –

I like to call it prayer.

To sense a silent, reverent awe

At beauty everywhere;

Some call it adoration –

I like to call it prayer.”

 

“No book can teach us self,

It is a hidden language only the heart can read.

Joan Walsh Anglund

 

 

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