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john k zimmerman

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La maison de Nini, la confrontation
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Il s'agit d'un amour presque impossible dans un context vaudou. Cependant, les amants finissent par arriver un compromis...  
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My Poetics [#7]
by john k zimmerman   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2004

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john k zimmerman

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Poetry Defined

The question was raised on the Round Table: What makes a poem a poem? What follows is my atempt at an answer...

A Poem Is...

What is a poem?

A poet uses the sense and sound of words to convey an experience of "reality". Contrast that to a technical writer who uses words in their unequivocal "technical" sense to explain a process. (I'll leave to your imaginations how the two would describe a romantic encounter)

A poet uses the sense and sound of words to convey an experience of "reality".

A word denotes, connotes, has associations, shades of meaning, and slang uses ... a poet uses them all.

A word, as a spoken entity has a certain physicality -- sound, cadence, the potential for rhyme, alliteration, and assonance ... a poet uses these as well...

A poet uses the sense and sound words to convey. The purpose of a poem is not to describe although description is part of it. The purpose of a poem is not to evoke a mood or feeling although such things do get evoked. The purpose of the poem is not to explain. A poem, through description, invocation, and explanation, conveys.

A poet uses the sense and sound of words to convey something. That something is the experience of the reality that the poet is at that moment creating. That experience of reality may be entirely true or entirely fiction, or something in between. No matter. What matters is that it is the reality, the experience reality, which the poet wishes to convey.

Perhaps this talk of "reality" is over the top. Let's simplify:

A poet uses words to convey an experience.

Any string of words which does so is a poem, IMHO...

Reader Reviews for "My Poetics [#7]"

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Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson 2/16/2005
"A poem, through description, invocation, and explanation, conveys."

Reviewed by m j hollingshead 4/10/2004
liked the read
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 3/23/2004
"The idea is to write it so that people hear it ... and it slides through the brain... and goes straight to the heart." ~ Maya Angelou

That's poetry.
Reviewed by Fr. Kurt Messick 3/23/2004
Reviewed by Ed Matlack 3/19/2004
Well, I have learned something new today, from a master poet & teacher...everyone should read this and internalize it...Peace thru the Write, Ed & Rufuz
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