If you never read another word about writing, read Dorriane Laux’s interview in Plume. She doesn’t need to define poetry — she demonstrates it. A sample:
“I’m not sure I can define poetry except that it’s something that defies definition. Poetry is a slippery beast, a shape changer, a beast with wings, a bird/dog, a hermaphrodite, a water bearer and light bringer, the life force rendered through language, a sieve, a chute, a cone of darkness, an aggregate stone. It’s changed me by reading it, though not in a way I can speak of. It’s a feeling inside a thought inside an image. It hunts me down. It haunts what haunts me. It changes me while I write it in that I lose myself inside it, making me weightless and colorless, fragile and fearless. It’s always been with me, even before I knew what it was, it ran ahead of me as I walked through the world, making me look around and take it in through my senses, stop and stare, or listen, or smell or touch or taste until the object of my attention no longer possessed a name, and then poetry dared me to name it.”
Many thanks to my sister Suzanne Sigafoos for recommending the interview, and for taking me to an unforgettable Dorriane Laux reading.