The Nature of Poetry by Dave Schneider


Many people have defined poetry in different ways. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as ‘an arrangement of words in verse; especially in rhythmical composition, sometimes rhymed, expressing facts, ideas, or emotions in a style more concentrated, imaginative and powerful than that of ordinary speech; some poems are in meter, some in free verse.’ If I may paraphrase the others, poetry is the projection of emotion and experience to the reader through theme, imagery, rhythm, and form in finely compressed language. The poet uses distinct imagery, both literal and figurative, supplemented by the rhythmic arrangement of words and phrases in a specifically designed form to convey feelings and ideas to the reader. Like a snapshot photograph, a poem captures a moment of experience in words that can be shared with others through eternity.

What is the difference between prose and poetry?

The most important difference is the line structure. In prose, the lines run to the margins of the page and carry over to the next until they form a complete paragraph. In poetry, each line is specifically designed based on the poet’s intended effect. Poetry is also distinguished by vivid imagery, a lyrical rhythm that supports the theme, and compact language to create an intensity that evokes an emotional reaction from the reader.

Why should you write poetry?

First, let’s be clear. If you’re seeking wealth and fame, poetry is probably not the place for you. The market is very limited, and the question of quality is quite subjective, so your chances of selling enough to make a living are very slim. If you would like to express yourself in a community of people who enjoy doing the same thing, the world of poetry is the perfect place for you.

Poetry is an entertaining form of relaxing recreation. Searching for just the right words to craft a line of poetry is akin to an artist mixing pigments on the palette to achieve precisely the right hue of color for a painting.

Poetry can be a therapeutic outlet for pent-up emotions. Expressing those feelings in words on paper will help you deal with them in a manner that will promote better understanding.

Poetry is an effective means of expanding your repertoire of skills by training writers of all persuasions to be more aware of the intricacies of the language they use. The compact nature of poetry forces the writer to trim and compress the language for maximum effect in expressing the very essence of an idea.

You shouldn’t worry about whether or not you ‘are good enough’ or ‘have what it takes.’ Poetry is more about the journey than the end result.

What do you need to write poetry?

As with all kinds of writing, the first and most important thing you need to write poetry is the commitment to sit down and do it. Ideally, that will start with designating a specific place and time for your writing. The place can be as simple as a place to sit and a flat surface to write on. The time will depend upon the demands of your daily routine. If you are truly committed to writing, you will find some space in that routine for your writing, whether it be rising an hour early for a morning session or in the evening after the kids are tucked into bed. Being retired, I usually try to get all my chores and errands done in the morning to free up my afternoon for writing. I also carry a pad and pen with me to capture any random moments that may come available, such as in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.

Poet Dave SchneiderAfter many years of writing to the beat of someone else’s drum, Dave Schneider unchained his Muse and started traveling a more creative path. When the ghost of Mr. Poe’s raven whispered in his ear, he stepped through the portal into the realm of phantasmic tales. Pushing his way past the cobwebs in the vestibule of his imagination, he proceeded down a labyrinth of deliciously dark dreamscapes, where he encountered the serpent of writing addiction. The beast sank its fangs into his consciousness, and a ravenous passion for words started coursing through his veins.

Since then, he has been writing and teaching poetry on the Writing.Com website. His poems have been published in several small press publications, and he has written articles and essays for a local magazine. In addition to his professorial duties at The Poet’s Place on Writing.Com, he is the chief instigator for The Writers’ Nest at Sangaree in Summerville, SC.

Dave’s career has progressed through a series of evolutionary phases along a meandering trail of enchanting exploration. These ingredients have produced the concoction of his writing. He plans to continue sampling different cuisines as he ventures down new avenues as well as a few less traveled pathways.

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