How Poets Define Poetry

Poetry has been defined as the embodiment of emotions and musings through written language. From the lyrical verses of ancient Greek tragedies to the manic raps of the twenty-first century, poetry has managed to bridge the gap between the written and the spoken forms of art. But while it has been an integral part of our lives, what is it that truly defines poetry? How do poets define their craft?

Traditionally, poetry has been seen as a medium to express emotions that would otherwise be difficult to articulate. This is why many describe poetry as “the language of emotion”. Indeed, experts argue that at the core of poetry lies the capability of the poet to convey a large array of emotions, be it love, joy, despair or simply the melancholic state of being. The poet must be able to connect the unspoken thoughts of the soul with the written words on the page, thus forming a unique bond of understanding between the poet and their readers. It is this linguistic approach to expressing feelings that sets poetry apart from the written forms of communication, like essays and articles.

For poets, however, poetry is more than just a form of expression. It is a means of understanding the complexity of the world around them. Many say that poets are able to craft succinct lines and stanzas to explain the aspects of life that can often be overlooked. For instance, the poet may write about a moment of profound personal realisation, the sadness of facing a loved one’s illness, or the joy of seeing a sunrise in the morning. By using language to capture their perception of the world, poets can share stories of hope, beauty, and joy.

Another defining feature of poetry is its stylistic approach to language. Poets are able to use a mixture of narrative, imagery, and metaphors to create vivid impressions of the world. By using these elements, the poet is able to convey an idea or emotion more effectively than if they had used plain and precise language. A poem may also play on the sounds of words, interpreting the feelings created by the reader and adding depth to the written piece.

Finally, poets see poetry as a tool for self-expression. Through their work, poets can explore personal themes and experiences which may not be discussed in conventional forms of writing. In this way, poetry can provide an outlet for the poet to share their innermost thoughts, feelings, and ideas, offering insight into their inner world that could never be captured in a conversational form.

Perspectives from Experts

Experts argue that poetry is an essential part of human expression. Professor Alan Gribben of Auburn University believes that “poetry is a vessel through which human emotions and the complexity of life can be explored and articulated. It offers solace, insight, and inspiration in the face of life’s most difficult challenges.”

Many poets also see their work as an opportunity to contribute to the greater conversation about societal issues, such as civil rights, poverty and justice. Poet Maya Angelou has said, “Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.” This way of understanding poetry highlights the extensive power it can have, both as a form of self-expression and as a means to create lasting change.

Data and Statistics

According to a survey conducted by the British Council, more than 80 percent of people polled consider reading and writing poetry to be important for the enrichment of their lives. Furthermore, 70 percent of respondents believe that the art of poetry is an effective tool for understanding and confronting life’s struggles. The study also showed that poetry is particularly instrumental for younger generations, with more than 75 percent of 16-24 year olds actively engaging with the craft.

In terms of how poetry is consumed, the survey revealed that over half of individuals prefer to engage with poetry through printed books and magazines. However, with the advent of new technology, it is now possible for people to access poetry in a variety of formats, from podcast readings to interactive e-magazines. This broadens the scope of how poetry can be experienced and appreciated.

A Poet’s Perspective

When asked what poetry means to them, many poets provide similar answers. Robert Frost once said, “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat”. For him, poetry was a way of exploring the complexities of the world and understanding his place within it. Similarly, Sylvia Plath stated that “the poetic voice is not necessarily one that sings but one that speaks to the deep emotions of its readers”. This is an important reminder that at its core, poetry is rooted in emotion.

Another way to look at poetry is to consider it a form of dialogue – a conversation between the poet and the world. Sarah Kay believes that “poetry is a way to bridge the gaps between where I am and where I want to be”; for her, poetry was a way for her to explore the unknown and uncover answers to questions she never knew she had. To her, poetry was a source of understanding, inspiration, and self-discovery.

A Look at the Future of Poetry

Experts predict that the new wave of technology is likely to have a major impact on the way poetry is written and consumed. With the advent of digital platforms, poets are able to reach new audiences and make their work more accessible to the public. Social media also provides a platform for poets to share their work on a larger scale, giving them the opportunity to engage with their readers in a more intimate manner.

Furthermore, technology has enabled poets to tap into wider topics, such as economics and politics. By utilizing digital devices such as smartphones and computers, poets can explore a range of themes and ideas, allowing them to communicate more effectively with their readers.

At the same time, experts argue that digital technology may also be detrimental to the art of poetry. With the endless amount of access to information, poets find it increasingly difficult to write poetry that stands out from the rest. As a result, they are increasingly relying on sensationalism and gimmicks to catch the attention of the public.

How Technology Can Aid Poetry

For some, technology offers certain advantages when it comes to writing and sharing poetry. With the use of computers, poets are able to save every draft of their work and make quick edits in a matter of seconds. Additionally, online tools can help poets to create artwork and visual aids that can add to the poignancy of the work.

Technology can also be used to foster a sense of community between poets, allowing them to connect and share their work with like-minded individuals. Through networking websites and blogs, poets can find an eager audience and establish a platform for dialogue, critique, and inspiration.


Ultimately, the definition of poetry is subjective, as each poet has their own unique understanding of what defines their craft. But there is one thing that remains the same – the lasting impact that poetry has on its readers. It is this profound effect that has made poetry one of the most beloved forms of writing throughout the centuries.

Minnie Walters is a passionate writer and lover of poetry. She has a deep knowledge and appreciation for the work of famous poets such as William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and many more. She hopes you will also fall in love with poetry!

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