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What is Poetry, my personal view. An opening of the discussion with you.

What Is Poetry (my personal view)
 An opening of the discussion  with you


Poetry is a type of music
where vowels are the notes,
and the rule of constant meter 
should be satisfied for those.

That's the definition of poetry
According to my understanding
Everything else should be called prose
or badly written poetry.

I do not like to say
that prose is so bad
I like prose too and there`s no way
that I would ever say that.

But just writing something in columns
doesn't make this something poetry
Even if it is full of epithets
and is as fresh as mountain dew.

Now let me refresh your memoRY
From your music classes about meter
So that you can read poetRY
providing it was correctly written.

A meter can be either
simple or compound.
And this explains why only five
types of meter can be found:

Two simple -  iamb ['I-"am(b)] and trochee ['trO-(")kE],
where the beat consists of two vowels one of which is stressed,
and three compound: dactyll, anapest and spondee ['spOn-"dE], 
with three vowels in a beat, as could easily be guessed.


The problem occurs however
in a language which allowS
different pronunciation
of the same vowelS.

And this is what happened TO
English where some diphtones
can be both one vowel or TWO
as in the case of the word "own",

And where some vowels like 'E' 
can be pronounces twice as LOng
and some others simplY 
may not be pronounced at ALL.

And then it's not a writer to blame
for the absence of meter,
But a reader for not being able 
to read a verse the way it's been written.


In Russian or UkrainIAN
we do not have this problem ANd... 
And everybody knows
the difference between poetry and prose


As for the rhyme, if it is there
then the poetry is complEte
and the author is really talentEd - 
maybe the second Shakespeare,

providing, of course, that the rhyme 
did not distort the conTENTS
which is definitely of prime
importance in any written sTANCE.

Yet, if there's no rhyme 
in a verse whatsoever
then you may call it a white poetry, 
but just poetry - never.


This seems so clear, this would be fair
As it appears to me.
But for some reason which is unclear
That's not the way people see.

If you like poetry and you agree
or you'd like to argue with that
Please send your reply to me
I would be really glad.


What is left without attentION
in the above discussION
is line organizatION          
(like ABAB or others in similar fashION),

and other types of poetry
like Japanese haiku, for instance, 
where meter is measured 
in another dimension,

and also the lyrics of songs
which are supposed to be read 
with a specific pronunciation -
the melody to which the lyrics belongs. 


So what makes good poetry? 
Let me recapitulate. 
According to their imporTANCE, 
this is what I would state.

First goes, of course, the conTENtS - 
the main we are interesteD IN
when we are reading somebody's wriTINg. 

The second is the smoothness of vERSe,
which is described by a meter, of cOURSe.

And the third is, the rhYme -
the most apparent sIgn
of a poetic passage.

What I didn't mention IS 
grammatic and linguistic errors.
(You'll find them a lot in this message).

I leave it for you to decide 
the importance of thESE 
and their side
among the items mentioned ABOVE.

These are three STONEs
a poetry baSeD ON.

To keep all them right
is an almost impossible THING,
unless you are genius, really bright.
And you will have to sacrifice 

some of them (and sometimes
the correct pronunciation too)
in order to finish finally 
your some-THING.

So, that was my advise.
And now you may try in your spare time
to write something incredibly nice
which might even be in rhyme!

I wish you good luck and LOVE!

As it's often love which inspIReS us
to disclose these poetic features.
With warmest and coolest regARdS
Your neighbor Dmitry Gorodnichy

Edmonton, 1996
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