What is poetry?

I always hesitate when it comes to defining any idea. Definitions tend to limit rather than broaden an idea. So let’s say that I’m going to explore or play with the idea.

Here is my exploration. But it is only one exploration. You can have yours as well.

Poetry, for me, is a condensed and intense form of writing in which lots of meaning is packed into just a few words. These words sparkle with new possibilities and myriad ways of seeing. They open multi-coloured windows on existence and incite vital alternatives to our usual ways of understanding life.

Poetry lifts the imagination and causes us to perceive life in all it’s remarkable shapes, from its deep sadnesses to its visions from mountains. Poetry shifts language from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

It is an imaginative space for stirring the soul and evoking the noblest emotions. Poetry takes us out of our comfort zones to that uncomfortable place where language is not entirely certain and we have to imagine in order to understand.

Here is another form of exploring what at poetry is. A poem about poetry.


I am beginning to understand

that words can drip as surely

as a tap needing a new washer.

But no plumber can stop or fix this tap.


The constant drips must be heard,

will be written,

will not stop being formed,

till the words cease

with the coming of night.


These words drip and stain

the pages of my thoughts

and insist on being laid down

on a cold wet page;

not because they have to be

but because that is the place

they must fall.


Also, go to the online article “20 Poets on the Meaning of Poetry” at http://flavorwire.com/413949/20-poets-on-the-meaning-of-poetry.


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