18 May 2012

fri-write friday 5/18: "defining it"

"Defining it": a poem for poetry!
This is a poem I wrote in response to a prompt I gave my poetry students this semester. The prompt simply asked them to write what poetry means to them. I'm a strong believer in never asking my students to write something I wouldn't write myself, so I had to do the same work of coming up with my own definition of what poetry means to me. As I packed up my school papers in the process of moving back east for the summer, I came across the poem again. I share it, now, with you.

Defining it

Poetry is what crashes my dawn.
Poetry is the first breath of air I feel
rushing my lungs, telling me I'm still
alive. Poetry is mystery. Poetry s the unreachable.
Poetry is bone-shattering and tongue-splitting.

Poetry is holding my breath 'til I think I'll die
without one more gasp for air.
Poetry is God breath.
Poetry is rising beyond
what I am to what I could be.

Your Turn: What does poetry mean to you? Even if you're not a poet, what does your writing mean to you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!


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Check out these previous Fri-Write Friday posts on Our Lost Jungle:


  1. "Poetry is God breath."

    Oh, Khara. YES.

    For me, poetry is finding fragments of myself I didn't know I'd lost, or would ever see again. It's shedding pieces of myself I can't get rid of any other way. It's turning pain to prose, tears to trees. It's inky fingers, happy heart, and whispered breeze.


  2. Khara-I think you are versatile so I am giving you the Versatile Blogger Award. See the post at http://www.mapoetpoems.blogspot.com.

  3. I wrote something similiar to this last month. It's not a poem, but it's poetic! I love your poem as always.

  4. Thank you, De, Michelle, and Dana. De, your comment is a poetry in and of itself. Dana, it is, extremely poetic! (I'd go so far as to argue it could be a prose poem.)

    Michelle, thank you for the award! I'll stop by to check it out shortly!

  5. Khara, this sort of piggy-backs on what I have been writing about over at my blog. I began asking what poetry is to those who don't normally read poetry and why don't they read it. (I didn't exactly word it this way.)I'm going to stear it to what it meansand doesn't mean to poets and how to bridge that gap. To me poetry is putting the shards of life into some kind of pattern so I can understand it better or see it from a different perspective. And like you and De said, poetry is both breath and wonder and life. -J.lynn Sheridan

    1. That's an important question, in terms of "bridging the gap" between poetry writers and poetry readers. Just the other day on Twitter, a poetry press asked followers what change it would take to make poetry an accepted form of oration; some folks argued it would take an audience change, that audiences need to understand that poetry isn't as "elusive" and unbreechable as people seem to think. For me that question was perhaps a bit mis-focused, but the ensuing discussion did indicate that for many people there's still a major gap between what writers think and readers think of poetry.


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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