What is poetry? This literary genre has been around, first as an oral tradition, since the beginning of human history. Yet there is no absolute, agreed-upon definition of poetry. The poet Salvatore Quasimodo said it is “the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own,” while Greek philosopher Plutarch called it “painting that speaks.” And contemporary author and poet Salman Rushie has said, “A poet's work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” Whatever your own feelings, try to approach the Phase 3 readings with openness. You just may discover that all three writers were correct about poetry! Part A: Chosen Poem After reading the fifteen assigned poems, choose one that especially resonates with you and speaks your truth in some way. Write a paragraph elaborating on at least three reasons why you selected this particular poem. Which lines are especially memorable to you? Part B: A Poet and Didn’t Know It Try your hand at composing your own 8 to 20 line poem. Choose a topic that interests you: anything from a hobby to a place to a special person or memory. It doesn’t matter whether it is rhymed or unrhymed, but it does need to include vivid imagery and figurative language. Don’t worry about perfecting your poem; you are not expected to produce a finished product. Rather, this is an exercise in learning about the poet’s creative process. Try not to over-think it; one of the wonderful gifts of poetry is that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to write it.
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