What is poetry (Collins)

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A lot of poetry fans quote Clive James’ saying that "originality is not an ingredient of poetry. It is poetry." Do you like aphorisms that define poetry in neat, tidy ways?

I like collecting those little definitions. Kenneth Burke said poetry was "the dancing of an attitude." When James said poetry "is originality," it really seems another way of saying that writing poetry isn’t writing poetry. True poetry is not writing what’s immediately recognized as poetry. The best example of that is Walt Whitman. No one thought of Leaves of Grass as poetry. Someone said of Whitman, "If that’s not poetry, it is something greater than poetry."

Billy Collins: Verse forward, poetry backward. (Interview mit Ben Fulton). In: The Salt Lake Tribune. First published Aug 31 2011 03:31PM hier