What is poetry?

For many people, their potential interest in poetry died at school. Matthew Arnold and Alexander Pope were the killers of my early interest in poetic form. Too young to understand the transient nature of language, I thought all poetry had to be like Sohrab and Rustum or the Rape of the Lock.  It’s like struggling with Shakespeare when you’re too young to access the layers beneath the words. Art always repays revisiting in later life.  Today the National Curriculum recognises more accessible poets like Carol Ann Duffy, Benjamin Zephaniah and Simon Armitage but poetry still seems low on many people profiles.

Or maybe we just don’t like to admit it. Is poetry in the closet?

We live in a digital age of user generated content where it’s never been easier to self promote as a writer or poet. Online there is a world of self-publishing without borders or boundaries which includes a mass of aspirant poetry. The questions raised by this epublishing phenomena are universal ones. What makes a poem? What turns a collection of words into poetry? The Alphabet Dances is a reflective place to explore questions like these.

Today poetry plays a larger role in my life.  I like word play. Alliteration is fun and constructing rhymes and rhythms is amusing. Recently I’ve discovered there’s poetry out there which works for me. I don’t have any answers to the question what makes a poem but there are some ideas I’m working on and Alphabet Dances is a place to bring them all together.

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