I have said something similar about lyrical non-fiction in an equally sarcastic tone. I suggest that "lyrical poetry" is explicitly related to poetry's musical devices such as sound, rhythm, and meter.
"This isn't poetry." -GoodReads Review for The Princess Saves Herself in This One
Poetry has a much broader definition, one in fact, that many people hesitate to define at all.
What is poetry? The most memorable definition comes from An Introduction to Poetry by X.J. Kennedy, standard High School English reading material. Dead Poet's Society echoed the definition.
X.J. Kennedy suggests that poetry is something to discover for oneself, find pleasure in and experience. (Kennedy, 1986)
Sound and Sense by Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson doubles down on this definition.
"They [poems] create significant new experiences for their readers—significant because focused and formed—in which readers can participate and from which they may gain a greater awareness and understanding of their world." (Arp et al., 2005)
If you want to learn about eagles, you turn to an encyclopedia. If you want to experience eagles, you turn to poetry. (Arp et al., 2005)
Why do people say that "Instagram Poetry" is not poetry? I can sum up the reasons this way:
"I don't want to sound elitist but..." -Youtube Review for The Princess Saves Herself in This One and similar titles
Poetry with clear messages will naturally be accessible to a larger audience. However, to suggest that poetry can only be experienced by those educated to read and understand poetic devices IS elitist.
It is wrong to suggest that something can only be poetry if it is complex in form and meaning.
Everyone can enjoy poetry. And accessibility to the experiences of reading should be celebrated in the community.
I think it is shameful and embarrassing to see people criticize "Instagram Poetry" as if to say that it is not poetry at all.
But I understand it anyway. It is proper to criticize how art is consumed nowadays and on social media. Still, don't balk at the artist for using a platform to draw attention where they might have struggled otherwise to bring attention to themselves or their art. Don't balk at the art form for its accessibility.
I hope that the community takes more time to collectively think about poetry and tone down their ego just enough to respect other people in their community other than themselves and the poetic giants of the past.
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This post was proofread by Grammarly
Kennedy, X. J. (1986). What is Poetry? In An introduction to poetry. essay, Little, Brown.
Arp, T. R., Johnson, G., & Perrine, L. (2005). What is Poetry? In Perrine's sound and sense: An introduction to poetry. essay, Thomson/Wadsworth.
Hi, my name is Cory Shaw. I am an author and illustrator of books and book covers for children.
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