The Importance of Poetry

Laura E. Smith Ms. Rachel MacNally English Honours 11th January 11th, 2012 The Importance of Poetry To each person, poetry has a varied significance and importance in their life. Some people may value poetry highly while others may consider it as something of lesser importance. The importance of poetry in today’s literary society is substantially important because it has an ability to express the thoughts and emotions of a writer through flowing words. Throughout history, poetry has been important because it gives us a historical representation of what previous generations found beautiful, important, or profound.

It can show us words and concepts from the past. Poetry can even depict historical events. Poets in the past may have written a poem after a big event had occurred and by reading their poems, we can see how the event affected everyday people. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Poetry, above any other art form, comes closest to fulfulling the goal of art. Art is the representation of the unrepresentable. Through language, space, and metaphor poetry is able to skirt the edges of capturing an ever changing world’s beauty and ugliness better than any other art form. Many people may ask themselves, is poetry closest to fulfilling the goal of art? The reason is because anyone can write it without being judged because there is a variety, and so many ways to write poetry. From free verse to haikus, structured poems to couplets, the sky is the limit. Anyone can write poetry because it is your ideas and emotions that you are letting flow onto a piece of paper. The variety of poems allows people to be able to fashion their own combinations for writing poetry and ultimately creating their own unique style. Its shortness can be a vehicle to convey an idea that longer pieces may not fully capture.

Poetry captures the urgency of a moment in the life of the writer. The art of poetry has always surrounded us, ever since we were little children. We began by listening to our parents sing us Nursery Rhymes which at the end of the day are fun poems that we all remember. Communication is essential for life to continue. So the reading and writing of poetry is very involved with the interplay and dialogue between humans. Without poetry, life would be a very long lecture on morality. It is a way for young writers to let off steam and dream without being judged.

It is also a way for an adult writer to express their madness, regrets, desires, aspirations and belief system. Poetry is the deep and powerful expression of the human condition; it encompasses all emotion, all modes of living; it can be mourning or celebration, song or scream, revelation or denial, acceptance or resistance, and sometimes all of these at once. Poetry puts your observations, opinions, and even train of thought out in the open. Once people see how you think, they might have a feeling of why you say what you say, do what you do, or react like you do.

This can prevent misunderstandings. Poetry can make it easier to step into the shoes of someone else. Due to this, poets are some of the first voices to protest social and political injustices; they are some of the first to mourn losses, cultural and personal; and they are some of the first to rejoice in the wonders of the living in and for the world. Unlike most forms of literature, poetry conveys more emotion than logical progression. It’s the origin of songs, and is an indispensable way to express one’s self since it is unbound by rules on grammatical clarity and precision.

Poetry is perhaps one of the most versatile of literary forms since it can convey great emotion, lyrical aesthetic, and a story all at the same time. It is some sort of a midpoint between songs and stories. And yet for all its magic, poetry is found in our daily speech. It uses words that are known to all of us, but in a sequence and order that surprises us out of our normal speech rhythms and linear thought processes. Its effect is to illuminate our lives and breathe new life, new seeing, new tasting into the world we thought we knew.

Poetry allows children and adults alike to explore the English language. Mixing words in sentences to find the right fit to create a sense of rhythm and flow. Poetry is real. Real people have written it to express real emotion that is normally hidden. Poets write to show that people have felt certain things before which someone else may be experiencing at another time. A poem allows you to see beyond the surface. Sometimes this is done through metaphors or other abstract ways which cause you to really think. Beauty is expressed, and art is emphasized through poetry.

Finding and using words to fit exactly how you want them to takes time and thought. When people read poetry, they have a chance to really see the world with some of the bells and whistles stripped away; it lets them concentrate on the details which remain. Poems often describe life and illuminate aspects of it using flashes of imagery. Finally, poetry is a kind of multi-dimensional language. It is directed at the whole person, not just at his understanding. It must involve the reader’s senses, intelligence, emotions and imagination.

Poetry achieves its extra dimensions per word by employing devices including metaphor, allusion, sound, repetition, rhythm, irony, symbol, connotation and imagery. Using these resources and the materials of life, poetry, in its highest form, comes alive on the page. Poetry is important because it tries to render things that aren’t easy to express in words. It does this by making use of attributes of language which aren’t commonly seen to instill deep thought and contemplation. In a sense, poetry uses words as doors to many possibilities. It carries our imaginations or stirs new dreams. Mainly, it extends the power of words to communicate.

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