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What is Poetry What is poetry What is a poem How can you tell the difference between poetry and prose I usually try to provide a defintion knowing that the definition is little more than a simplified starting point for this elusive and irresistible genre I developed this one collaboratively with my colleague at TCC Stan Barger who team-taught English 112 with me several summers Poetry is the concentrated rhythmic verbal expression of observations perceptions and feelings Poetry looks different from prose on the page In prose the words go to the margin without regard to position in space In poetry ends of lines depend on sound meaning and appearance Often lines begin with capital letters even when they are neither the beginnings of sentences nor proper nouns These conventions make poetry instantly recognizable Reading a variety of poems will help you understand both individual poems and the concept of poetry Poetry Guidelines Reading and Writing for Understanding is intended to give you some strategies for understanding poems Dona Hickey at the University of Richmond and I developed Poetry Portals a resource list of poems poetry scholarship poetry classes and poetry zines for our students and for other teachers at workshops we conduct on using computers for poetry instruction Other collaborators recommended sites for us to include If you suggest sites that we use well add your name to the credits Don Maxwell at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond has been teaching a poetry writing class for which he has posted some electures on poetry that I recommend Here you can read a local poets explanation of What Makes a Poem a Poem and The Sound of Poetry including a poem by and picture of Emily Dickinson one of the United States earliest and best poets Top of Page
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