What is poetry?
Colin Ian Jeffery is an established English poet and novelist with world-wide reputation, his books can be purchased from all good bookshops and Amazon.
* * *
I believe poetry to be the highest of mankind’s literary achievements, timeless, appealing down the ages, revealing imagery of a poet’s struggles and experiences, stresses, joys, passions, navigating life with determination and purpose. Poetry is word paintings, full of colours, bright and dark, creating from a few words images that inspire the imagination and enhance memories.
Poets use their experiences and emotions, often raw and painful, to share and inspire visions, good and bad, relationship with family, friends and most important with lovers. I myself compose best while in spiritual pain --- poems that are forged white hot, hammered out upon an anvil of anguish, exploring what it means to be a human being, and the adventures and excitement of being in love, suffering the distress of a broken heart, searching for meaning to the great mysteries of the Universe, and for God hiding in his everywhere.
Poetry should have a beat like the steady beat of a drum --- the poet painting a word picture seen within the mind that provides so much more than the words on a page. The Chinese say a picture is worth a million words. This is also true with a poem, which should be a springboard into the poet’s soul and inspire the reader to an array of emotions and experiences of life.
What would life be like without poetry? For me, it would be like having the sun in my universe perpetually eclipsed with darkness never yielding to a bright dawn of promise where the soul can soar free and be mountain high like eagles upon the wing.
The poet’s Muse composes within the secret landscape of the heart, and is as important to living as the beat of the heart and every breath that is taken. Poetry is the language of the soul, daily bread, sweet and joyful, sometimes sorrowful when the poet must out-pace purple storms while chased by thunder clouds and lightning bolts of unhappiness and grief.
A voice called to me
And I hear it calling still.
Some fellow poets thoughts on what is poetry?
“Poetry is the medicine of the world. It soothes and ennobles the soul.”
Associate professor Feng Yan, China.
“The best words in the best order.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“The record of the best and happiest moments of the best and happiest minds."
Percy Bysshe Shelley
“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry."
“A poem begins with a lump in the throat, a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfilment. A complete poem is one where the emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words.”
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”
“Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.”
“Poetry is, at bottom, a criticism of life.”
“Poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.”