Questions: What is True Poetry? I Need Help From My Readers

I have a question for you, dear readers, I am need of your opinion.

image of pen and paper of what is true poetry

I was checking my comments from the link on Amazon- Impressions of My Mind” …The place where customers buy or download my eBook I have written.

I laughed when I read this comment. My first thought is to say “What, I don’t understand?

By: Theresa Gage on April 20, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Simple word descriptions. It lacks the meter for true poetry.

My comments to Theresa were…

“Hi, Theresa! Thank you for the feedback! As my 1st poetry eBook, I was in the learning stages of writing poetry! I have learned with age, one is never too old to learn something new!”
Thank you again!
Linda J. Wolff”
Here is my definition of true poetry in poetry form.
I thought true poetry was this…
In this beautiful free spirit of mine.
Flies a bird of many colors,
may they be black or gray,
reds, or violet, and bright green.
I am here… to display my words imperfectly.
But I do bring one thing.
All my honesty and sincerity, and simplicity.
This is a true poet’s form.

What is the merit for true poetry?

Is there a degree in writing your words to paper, I was never in the understanding that I needed a Bachelor Degree to write what I feel. I am confused.
Please leave your comments to this controversy. I am really curious as to what everyone’s opinion is.
Here are 3 definitions of True Poetry:
We may feel we know what a thing is, but have trouble defining it. That holds as true for poetry as it does for, say, love or electricity. The American poet Emily Dickinson, though shrinking from offering a definition of poetry, once confided in a letter, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” A well-known British poet, A.E. Housman, could identify poetry through a similar response. He said that he had to keep a close watch over his thoughts when he was shaving in the morning, for if a line of poetry strayed into his memory, a shiver raced down his spine and his skin would bristle so that his razor ceased to act.” – National Endowment for the ARTS.
“The writer’s job is to tell the truth,” Ernest Hemingway once said. When he was having difficulty writing he reminded himself of this, as he explained in his memoirs, A Moveable Feast. “I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you
have to do is write one true sentence.
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 (A Defence of Poetry

Now my question to you is…What does true poetry offer you the poet or writer? I want to hear your definition of “true poetry“.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

You are more than welcome to ReBlogg! Let’s set this on fire and see what kind of responses we get.


  • If You’re New to My Poetry Blog: Don’t forget to SIGN-IN on the Meet-Up Page to connect with other wonderful bloggers. Sign in Here – Meet Up
  • Grab My 1st Edition Poetry eBook: Do you love reading poetry, or quotes? Of course, you do, or you wouldn’t be here reading Urban Poetry 2017. My 1st Edition of my first 50 pieces of poetry I have written is now available in a downloadable poetry eBook “Impressions of My Mind”—Amazon for .99cts.
  • Grab a Cell Phone Case or Handbag with my Quotes & Digital Designs: Do you love viewing creative digital art? I’m offering my quotes and digital designs on designer cross body bags, cell phone cases, etc. Click Here – Urban Poetry & Fashion Accessories.
  • Click the Follow Button: If you enjoy DIGITAL DESIGNS, HAIKU, POETRY, QUOTES… Be sure to click the follow up at the top right-hand corner.
  • Let’s connect on Social Media: I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also. Find me here on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

a digital art and poetry WordPress blog

#trupoetsepoetry #poets #bachelordegree #poetry #dailyprompt #thoughtsonpoetry

Posted by

A poetic wordsmith by the mind and a passionate blogger by heart.
Reservoir for Wolff Poetry and mentor for youth writing groups. Life motto: Everything you seek is in the stillness of one’s mind. The place between seconds, whispering of a song between sound.

45 thoughts on “Questions: What is True Poetry? I Need Help From My Readers

  1. “True poetry”? lol Poetry is about the expression/communication of emotion or feeling to the audience. Thats like saying there’s “true speech” theres proper speech which aids the communication process but that doesn’t​ make improper communication or “untrue”.

      1. No problem. This hits home for me because I chose to abstain from college and follow my dreams, even wrote a book of poetry myself, and I hear similar things every day

      2. Yes. I do too James. Is it that we have to write scribed words that scholars or professors who have gone to college for many moons only know to be a poet. I believe as long as it’s grammatically correct, legible, and inspires the reader to continue to the next line.

  2. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™ and commented:
    As one who does not possess a talent for being artistic, especially writing poetry, I view poetry the same way I view art: oils, watercolors, sketches, photography, sculptors, acting, dance forms…. I like what I am drawn to. What touches me in whatever way the medium touches me. What appeals to me does not appeal to the next person viewing the same piece of art. MY UNhumble advise is simple. Do YOU and to hell with what someone else likes, approves of or desires from YOU.

      1. Art, much like life, is relative to the person viewing that art form. We are whom we are based on life experiences. You rock as an artist and as a human being. Never forget THAT. After all, that is all that really matters.

  3. The reason I was drawn to poetry is precisely because it is free of rules. I feel it can be one of the most true expressions of language since it is not bound by the same constraints as other mediums. Personally I really started writing it as a spontaneous, cathardic act. It seems to come from somewhere prior to structure, like where language comes from in the first place. That said I know there are different styles and structures of poetry that are cool in their own right but to be limited to those is to be caught up in a phantom structure that originally came from a wide open expression using language freely. That perspective makes judging and critiquing poetry very ironic to me. It’s so delicately subjective and that is its perfection. But I digress, you poetry is stellar becuase it is authentic expression and it clearly also speaks to people.

  4. It may be that you are misinterpreting your reader’s comment. In saying that your work “lacks the meter for true poetry” a statement of the inherent quality of your work may not be being made. It may be that they are simply saying that your work lacks a quality that one definition may say poetry has. You may be focusing too much on the “true poetry” statement, than the comment is implying.

    There are those who feel that poetry should be metered, for example in iambic or trochaic meter. If done well, meter does add a sound to poetry that, from a traditional perspective, makes work “sound like poetry” to some ears. If you think of writing from the 19th century, you may get an idea of what this means.

    Having read your book, it is true that it does lack strict poetic meter. That however is not a statement of the quality of the work. It is simply a statement of fact, and not necessarily a negative one. It is like saying a book of poems lacked nature poems. That’s not negative, just a statement.

    In saying your work “lacks the meter for true poetry” the reader may just be saying that you work does not fit with a certain definition. This isn’t necessarily negative. It is just saying that your poetry does not have a certain characteristic.

    Similarly, the first part of the comment, “simple word descriptions”, fits the same idea. In your work, you may have portrayed ideas in a simple fashion, but that may been the idea. It’s not necessarily negative to say that is there.

    In short, two things:

    1. You may have seen into the comment more than was really implied. The person may have simply been stating an idea, rather than commenting on the quality of the work.

    2. In terms of looking at what is “true poetry”, such an idea could go on for years. While there is something to be said for free expression, there is also something to be said for traditional expression. Experiment with things, see what you like, but in the end, just be happy.

    1. M. Sakran…I love your explanation of the two ideas. I am of the belief that she wasn’t being negative nor I in taking that she was. She was giving her perception of the material she downloaded. I thought this could start a great conversation with my readers…Thus in turn posting it, to see the feedback and more of a informational piece to contribute too!

  5. True poetry is what one wishes to write to express their emotions, thoughts, observations. It doesn’t have to have rhyme or reason.

  6. My husband says if it doesn’t rhyme it’s not poetry. I disagree.

    There is music in poetry and the words are the voice of the soul. As poets we learn to use figurative language and various poetic devices to amplify our thoughts into words. I often find poets who use extended metaphors (conceits) and/or have several layers of meaning threaded through the poem is the equivalent of trying to unravel the Times cryptic crossword. Poetry should challenge the reader but in my opinion remain within reach.

    1. You had me laughing when you said ” trying to unravel the Times cryptic crossword”. I too sometimes have to bring the dictionary out just to get of basis of the terminology behind the word or line.

      1. 🙂 Poetry should include the reader not exclude. Some poets try to push the boundaries too far and the meaning is lost. But should poetry be understood or are we just paining words on a page like… … and abstract painting? The meaning behind the blobs and splobs of colour maybe the artist’s creative spirit but are as clear as mud to the onlooker. (apologies – I have wandered off topic) LoL

  7. Oh, Linda… you don’t ask easy questions, do you? I feel totally unqualified to suggest what constitutes “true poetry”. However, as a reader and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, I do know what I like in the genre of poetry. I enjoy metered verse and rhyming. I also enjoy free verse where those two qualities are either intermittent or absent altogether. As I read your question and the review that sparked it, I immediately pictured myself in an art gallery spending hours gazing at very different styles of art. Some I like; some I hate. I dislike impressionist art – but I’d never suggest it wasn’t true art. All I know is what I like. When I think about your poems, the ones I like best are the free verse and the ones where you include some rhymes. I’m not drawn to Haiku or other forms that have a very strict structure. But I’d never think that those poems are any less worthy of respect than the ones that speak to my heart. It’s all about personal preference. As writers, we are all journeying together and we need to be supportive so that our colleagues and friends won’t get discouraged and will continue to work at their craft and grow. I’m not sure this is a good answer to your question, Linda, but it is an honest one. Bless you and your work!

  8. Is there true poetry? Or do verses evoke inner association? Is the poet able to reveal emotive creativity without the protocols of written word? From my perspective a poem should evoke questions and leave me searching for meaning Ian

  9. Not having any formal training in poetry, but having heard the term, “free verse,” I looked that up on Wikipedia which says: Free verse is an open form of poetry. It does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern. Many poems composed in free verse thus tend to follow the rhythm of natural speech.[1] Free verse sounds like more fun.

  10. A Jeopardy question: “What is a vision of soul penned? A dream articulated? A depth charge of words? An art form that transcends an individual accounting? A rhythm of thought expressed?”

  11. Poetry is the outcome of the feelings that one wants to express. .
    I believe poetry is related to painting directly . .
    A painting has a hidden poem inside it. . And a poem can be said as good when it succeeds to portray an image or a painting in your mind about the particular subject the poem is about . .
    E.g. If one write a poem about nature , it should make the reader’s mind to visualise an image of the scenery you are describing . .
    Then it would be considered as a successful and heart touching poem no matter if you use fancy words or just simple day-to-day words. .
    I hope i’m not spamming . Just tell me if u want the link to my blog to be removed

  12. First off… I dig your organization.

    As for an opinion – I agree with your views,
    and those others which you collected here for us.
    If you feel it, and write it, then it is your poetry.

    As for what it offers me? That is varied.
    Sometimes I am graced with a new curious perspective,
    a new lens to view the worlds between lines with.
    Sometimes I am offered a drink when I am parched in the desert,
    a cool sip to bring me across the vast expanse that is life.
    Other times it leaves me empty, blank, blessed with nothing at all!

  13. The below quote is my favorite words for poetry.
    “Poetry, my dear friends,
    is a sacred incarnation of a smile.
    Poetry is a sigh that dries the tears.
    Poetry is a spirit who dwells in the soul,
    who nourishment is the heart,
    who wine is affection.
    Poetry that comes not in this form is a false messiah.”
    Kahlil Gibran.

  14. I believe that poetry is art and art is technique, so poetry is technique and not just expressed feeling. However there are a lot of valid techniques to make ‘true’ poetry. The comment which inspired your post was from someone who feels like poetry must follow a metrical structure in order to qualify as ‘true’ poetry. They probably subscribe to Frost’s idea that ‘writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down’. A lot of people are more open to free verse than that, so in their eyes it takes more than meter to make a ‘true’ poem!

Leave a Reply