What is poetry?

Poetry...
The language of the heart.

Does it refer to those rhymes you had to memorise ad nauseam while at school? Does it originate from here, or is it inspired by a muse? Is it just flippant mockery, or an astute strategy? Or is it simply the rhythms and words that tell the stories of people and moments that touch our lives? Is it mere recitation… or pure philosophy? Poetry is all that and so much more - it is the crystallisation of thought in the realm of imagination, unbound by convention or constraint, that permits us to transcend the ordinary.

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.”
– William Wordsworth

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.”
– T.S. Eliot

“Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
– Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things, and hence its importance.”
– Matthew Arnold

Editor: Johann de Lange
Johann de Lange, Afrikaans poet and author, was born in Pretoria in 1959 and spent his high school years in the Waterberg district. He made his debut ...

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Editor: Dr Sponono Mahlangu
Dr Katjie Sponono Mahlangu holds a B.A degree with UNISA, and B.A(Hons), M.A. and D.Litt. degrees with the University of Pretoria. She is the Exec...

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