Poetry Paints a Picture.
Poetry paints word pictures to the reader through the use of poetic devices. Poetry is different from prose because prose is the natural flow of speech without the metrical structure found in poetry. Novels, short stories, personal and business letters, textbooks and newspaper articles are all examples of prose. Creative writing can include both fiction and poetry. It’s writing that creates or makes things up using imagination and invention. Creative writing is the opposite to Academic writing.
Poetry uses Imagery or Figures of Speech such as Simile, Metaphor and Personification. Each of these techniques draw a comparison which it is expected will be familiar to the reader and therefore create an image or picture in the mind. An Analogy is a sustained simile or metaphor which tells a story; Fables, Allegories and Parables are considered analogies. An Hyperbole is a grossly exaggerated metaphor. Poetry also uses lots of Symbolism where words are used to embrace a whole idea, such as the cross as a symbol of Christianity. Poetry may call someone A Solomon to indicate a wise person or A Hitler to summon up the idea of dictatorship. We may say The Crown instead of Royalty or use a sail to refer to a ship or use Onomatopoeia where the sound echoes the sense of the word.
There are more poetic devices, but that will do for today. When I went to school we were taught to write using descriptive words such as adjectives and adverbs. Today we teach students to write creatively by implementing some of the poetic devices discussed above so that the art of picture painting, which poetry does so well, is evident in their short stories. Next time you are reading some fiction, look for the poetic devices.
To conclude, I share a portion of a poem written by Maya Angelou. If you are not familiar with this author, please Google her and have a read about her and her poetry.
Caged Bird by Maya Angelou
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
For the complete poem please refer to Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird” from Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? Copyright © 1983 by Maya Angelou.