Poetry is not all old-fashioned and stodgy - and it isn't limited to sonnets and haikus, either. Poetry comes in all different forms and touches on a wide variety of topics and genres. There are verses and vows and limericks and lyrics. There's epic poetry, lyric poetry, speculative poetry (yep, sci-fi/fantasy/horror themes can creep into poems, too!) Poems pop up in greeting cards and commercials. They are shared in verse novels and at poetry slams.
Like plays, many poems are meant to be heard. Read a poem out loud, or listen to it being read by the author or another brilliant performer, and you might find yourself transfixed and transformed.
Think of a song with lyrics that you really like. Those lyrics just might be poetry, set to music. Check out some performance poetry. Consider Lin-Manuel Miranda's mind-blowing award-winning musical Hamilton. See what I mean? Rhythm and rhymes.
I had a lovely conversation with someone who translates poetry. She is fluent in multiple languages and loves melodic, meaningful words. She spoke of the challenge of keeping the original intention of the poem and being aware of both the connotations and the denotations of words used. When poems have a certain meter, feeling, or flavor, it can be more important to use words that capture those feelings and rhythms than having a perfectly exact word-for-word translation, she said. Some words don't translate so precisely, she added, especially if it's a colloquialism or a turn of phrase.
Why am I posting about poetry today? Every Friday, bloggers around the world participate in Poetry Friday. This weekly event has roots in the world of academic blogs. I learned of it nearly ten years ago through the book blogging community and have been participating at my blog, Bildungsroman, every week since. Anyone may participate, and different blogs host the roundup each week.
Do you have any poets or poems you really enjoy? Feel free to leave them in the comments below, or at GuysLitWire!
If you're so inclined, donate some poetry collections and verse novels for the Ballou Book Fair!