Sunday Treat – National Poetry Month – What Is Poetry?

sundae2F. Isabel Campoy is a poet, playwright, songwriter, and storyteller. She has written numerous children’s books (many in collaboration with Alma Flor Ada) both in English and in Spanish in the areas of poetry, theatre, folktales, biographies, and art.

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Recently, she wrote:

“Poetry is the chisel of language. It carves meaning until beauty appears, dancing with the rhythm of form.”

Beautiful and apt thoughts for National Poetry Month!

At the beginning of this year’s poetry month, I mentioned that Michael Chabon, no slouch himself in creating “surprising and beautiful utterances” (as he characterizes the work of James Joyce) points to “the joy and sensuous appeal of alliteration, assonance, and consonance” in poetry. He credits one of his college poetry teachers for helping him define poetry:

“He emphasized accuracy and precision in language, the sadness of cliché, the need to find newness in the way one wrote about the world, and, unconsciously I think, the supreme importance of exuberance.…”

Here is Chabon clarifying what he means by discussing the poetry of “the most exuberant poet who ever lived, Frank O’Hara”:

“The voice of O’Hara was the voice of a friend, a best friend. It was intimate and casual. And yet at the same time it was also refined, literary, erudite, capable of hopping like a sparrow down a sidewalk from densely imagistic to dishy and familiar in the space of a single line.”

Chabon, like those he admires, also has “gifts of sensory perception and the figuration thereof.” And this is the beauty of poetry.

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Finally, a little poem on what is poetry, by Charles Ghigna, also known as “Father Goose”:

A Poem Is A Little Path

A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.

Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.”

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About rhapsodyinbooks

We're into reading, politics, and intellectual exchanges.
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3 Responses to Sunday Treat – National Poetry Month – What Is Poetry?

  1. janet wong says:

    How wonderful to see F. Isabel Campoy, Alma Flor Ada, and Charles Ghigna all in the same post! They are three of my favorite poets both for their words and their always-positive view of life. (Proud to have their poems in THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR SCIENCE, too.)

  2. sagustocox says:

    This sounds so good. Wonderful post. Thanks so much for continuing to participate in the Poetry Month blog tour! I hope you’ll check out the haiku from over the weekend.

  3. readerbuzz says:

    A nice little poem that I should include in Poem in a Pocket Day.

    Hope you will stop by Readerbuzz and take a look at my contribution to Poetry Month, The Official Readerbuzz Guide to All Things Children Poetry-ish.

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