Lens #2: Defining Poetry

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door
leaving those who look through to guess about
what is seen during a moment –
– Carl Sandburg

A poem… begins as a lump in the throat, 
a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a love sickness… It is a teaching — out toward
expression; an effort to find fulfillment.
A complete poem is one where an emotion
has found its thought has found
the words
– Robert Frost

Between what I see and what I say
between what I say and what I keep silent
between what I keep silent and what I dream
between what I dream and what I forget:
– Octavio Paz

The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation.
– Margaret Atwood

All poets are mad.
– Sir Richard Burton

In class we will take some time to brainstorm and discuss what we think makes poetry poetry. How is poetry different than prose or stories, plays, films or other kinds of creative responses.  Before we begin, take a look at the following “fantastic” definitions of poetry on your own, in small groups or with a partner. Pick one definition that you like and explain what you appreciate about it and it’s attempt to pin down what poetry is and the impact it has on us. Record this in your Scrapbook.



When you’re done the section, record your notes, your work or product (if there is one), your thoughts and more in your poetry scrapbook.  You could also take a picture of any notes or work made by the class on the board or anything else that you think is important to add to everything related to this lens. Perhaps you found some material online that you want to cut and paste into your scrapbook.

REMEMBER: Your scrapbook is getting assessed on Criterion C. We are looking for your depth of personal engagement with different perspectives, relevant details, and the creativity, imagination, even originality, that you show as you embrace the topics that we explore in this unit.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar