Poetry and Paragraphs: a 16-Week Course of Integrated Literature, Research, and Paragraph Writing for Middle School and Early High School

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Definition of Poetry

Some people believe that rhyme makes poetry poetry. Others argue for rhythm, or for adherence to certain rules. But the job of composing a really complete definition for poetry has troubled thinkers for many years. Some great poems rhyme, but some do not. Some great poems have regular rhythms, while others use more fluid, complex rhythm. Poems in different times and different cultures have followed different rules. That doesn’t mean that just anything makes a good poem, however.
For one thing, most good poetry places images in the reader’s mind through careful descriptions and comparisons. Good poems use colors, shapes, sizes, smells, and sounds to help the reader envision the context of the poem.
In addition, good poetry uses original language. By avoiding cliches (overused words and phrases), good poets create a new experience for their readers and revel in the amazing flexibility and range of human language.

Wordplay is another aspect of many great poems. Good poets find ways to play with words, and even contribute to the creation of new words. Try an Internet search of words and phrases coined by William Shakespeare. The number will astonish you!

Finally, the best poets focus on the big things in life: God, right and wrong, the nature of humans, the attributes of good governance, and the importance of language.
Despite the important subjects poetry treats, poems frequently employ humor, wonder, and mischievousness.

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