Having said so there are those who would
argue that these definitions do not encompass all of
what poetry is. However, in order to understand the nature
of poetry it is necessary to define it first in terms of
certainties. Poetry is unarguably an art form. It does
communicate on some level or another and that communication
deals with conceptual or experiential expressions, most
frequently in a written or verbal form. Rhythm is second in
importance only to communication and provides the carrier
wave for its message. Rhythm and its variations, harmonics,
counterpoints etc are the primary media of poetry. All other
tools and devices are secondary to rhythm and serve only to
increase, decrease, maintain, alter or enhance its
Poetry has three primary components:
language, rhythm and form.
Message is the content. The communication, primarily but
not limited to language.
Rhythm is commonly regarded as meter although that is a
coarse view and does not fully express the texture of a
poem. Rhythm is a patterned repetition of contrasting sound
intensities and qualities. That, and changes within those
characteristics are what determines a poem's flow. There are
also categories of rhythm (visual, tactile etc) that fall
within the subject of form.
Form is the interface -
the manner of communication - and includes the
physical attributes of the poem: shape, style etc as well as
presentation. It may be spoken, printed, concrete, free form
or otherwise. Styles of poetry such as the sonnet or blank
verse etc are part of form. This is the department of
Poetry n. 1. Poetry is the achievement
of art through the use of language, rhythm and form. 2. Poetry is the art of achievement through
the use of language, rhythm and form. [ultimately from Gk. poietes
< poiein, to create]
Poetry is, at once, what you
get... and how you got there.
Each of these components; language, rhythm and form, may
be weighted differently in terms of importance. The
foundations of various philosophies of poetry (and art) are
rooted therein. But none of these
broad categories can function without the other two present
in at least some degree. Each element defines, modifies,
compliments or is defined, modified or complimented by,
approaches rhythm we have music.
Where rhythm approaches form we have dance.
Where form approaches language we have sculpture.
Song lies between music and dance.
Mime, between dance and sculpture. As does, a little further
along, painting etc.
Poetry is elusive in that it
can be readily found straddling the scale at any
approaches so-and-so," does not mean anything in terms of
real distance. It is only a statement of relative primary
Poetry does not merely seek to cause an effect upon its
audience. Rather, it seeks to raise the audience from
spectatorism to cause, by participation, on a
gradient scale, through contribution (physical or mental)
and may run the gamut from, for example, applause and more
direct levels of interaction, and finally through to the
highest levels wherein the audience contributes, not only to
poetry on an immediate and responsive basis, but to the art
itself as creators in their own right.
Thus poets are made.
And thus great poets may be recognized.