What is Poetry?

Merriam-Webster offers the surprisingly vague definition, which, in itself, is quite poetic:

poetry (n): something which is beautiful or graceful

How do you define poetry? As Ani DiFranco once said, “Art is why I get up in the morning / But my definition ends there.” We’ve compiled a few thoughts on the nature of poetry from some of history’s greatest artists and thinkers.

  1. Painting is poetry. “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” — Leonardo da Vinci
  2. Trees are poetry. “Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
    That we may record our emptiness.” — Kahlil Gibran
  3. A lump in the throat is is poetry. ““A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” — Robert Frost
  4. Graffiti is poetry. “Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  5. Verbal beauty is poetry. “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” — Edgar Allen Poe

Got something to contribute? Post your definition of poetry (or your favorite quote about poetry!) on our Facebook page.

Poetry & Praxis, Part II

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 11.34.20 PM

See last week’s gathering of poetry and praxis here. —————— This week’s round-up of poetry praxis includes Karl Marx’s satanic poetry, the poetic aesthetics of Pussy Riot, and the story of the American literary figure also known as “the Prairie … Continue reading

What is Praxis?


What is praxis? Let’s investigate. According to the dictionary: praxis (n): 1. practical application or exercise of a branch of learning 2. the practice and practical side of a profession (as opposed to theory) According to Wikipedia: Praxis is the process by … Continue reading

Comp Lit Welcome Brunch!

marilyn reading

The Comp Lit Welcome Brunch will be happening soon! Start off Spring 2014 right: Mix and mingle with the other lovely denizens of the department. Stay posted for details on time and location. TBA