What is Poetry?

Wendy Slater
What is Poetry?

Audre Lorde, the poet, said, “Poetry is the way we give a name to the nameless so it can be thought.” Lorde’s statement is accurate for poetry gives edges, expression, and delineation to experiences, and this allows and helps the reader to define and be with their own experience that is evoked from the reading of a poem. A poem can unveil a feeling that previously lacked words and depth and open a new lens of perception for the reader.

Poetry enables one to re-experience and, ultimately, re-examine and reintegrate from the reading of a poem. For the reader, poetry essentially creates an intimacy within the self and with the poem, and also, enables one to glimpse into both one’s own life and the poet’s mind. In essence, poetry allows the reader to be an observer while simultaneously being immersed in a poem. Great poetry renders a visual like a painting where one can see all the splashes, colors, layers, and depths as well as the creative whole of the work of art. Poetry creates a spaciousness in the mind where new thoughts and feelings can form.


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