On Poetry


I’m not a big poetry writer myself. I don’t read it too often either. I do love, “Howl,” by Allen Ginsberg and I’m currently reading, “Night Cadre” by Robert Hunter, the lyricist for the Grateful Dead. Most of the poetry I enjoy is in songs. I love when a poignant lyric stands out to me.

Word choice is everything in poetry. There are handfuls of ways to say the same thing, but some ways are much more powerful than others. This brings me to my question for “Two Way Hump Day.” It’s for poets and normal people alike:

What makes him such a great poet?

What makes him such a great poet?


What is more important in poetry, the rhythm of the words when spoken or the message of the words? Do they play an equal part? If one is missing does it become less powerful?


You can answer in the comments below, or write your own post and tag it “Two Way Hump Day,” or tweet @oshitbritt.


Since my post was pretty short today, I thought I’d leave you with some of my favorite lines of poetry.


“Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!

Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisable suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!

They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!”

-Allen Ginsberg


Much Madness

Much madness is divinest sense

To a discerning eye;

Much sense the starkest madness.

’T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.

Assent, and you are sane;

Demur,—you ’re straightway dangerous,

And handled with a chain.

 – Emily Dickinson


‘The Moon is down’

The Moon is down,

The Pleiades. Midnight,

The hours flow on,

I lie, alone.

 – Sappho


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16 thoughts on “On Poetry

  1. I feel like even though rhythm is important, sometimes the content or message can be even more so. Not to say that rhythm is NEVER important, because it is, but if there’s no message in the poem/writing, if there’s no life to it, then what’s the point of it being there?

  2. First & Foremost I am honored that you ask me to be a part of this post. Thank you!

    What is more important in poetry, the rhythm of the words when spoken or the message of the words?

    For me, both the rhythm and the message are important in my style of writing. I do not follow by any poetry guidelines when writing; I have my own innovative style. The rhythm enhances my poetry to give it a little swag. This way when reading it aloud it sounds just right. The two definitely play a vital role when constructing my poems. If one is missing, it throws my entire poem off. The rhythm and message are best if intertwined!

    • Thank you for your reply! I definitely agree that they’re best intertwined. Sometimes when I write poetry, I have to write out what I want to say before tweaking it and adding my own kind of style. I guess that’s what makes poetry such a special kind of writing.

  3. Harvest Time

    The breathing weather beats barley, wheat, rye,
    Pliant spondees, into iambic fields
    Of verse. The crow, so sharp of wing and eye,
    Takes flight. Such subtle substitution yields
    Lacunae’s silent-sprung vitality –
    The hushing nimbus of a pinioned muse….
    With such petition, autumn’s prosody
    Returns to spring’s terrain of tired rows.

    The drying corn responds, ingrained in time,
    With ears erect and pricked. Susurrus
    Of scraping stalks take leave to sound it out
    In lengths of stress. Now scythe’s blade, now crow’s foot,
    Each sings refrain. Thus, crows and shadows rhyme
    At reaping time. How clean the caesuras!

  4. Wonderful topic, evoking much thought. I am honored to have been invited to join in the conversation. When I write, I write to cleanse my heart, and soul. The words find their own release, they must. I generally write with a rhythm in my head and the rhyme follows. I call this process – puking words through my hands – that’s all, I do not consider myself a writer or poet. Thank You!

  5. Thank you for inviting me to respond. I mainly write free verse or structured free verse, and often will study formal structured poetry and challenge myself as a poet to the standards as set by the great poets that came before me. I feel we owe it to Shakespeare to at least attempt to write a sonnet as he so gifted to us and to do it proper. Challenging oneself in this way makes you a better poet/writer. As far as words – I often create words and/or add my own unique touch by changing the spelling of words. As far as the importance between the rhythm of the words or the words themselves, I see writing poetry as painting with words. Create the picture, form the image, and you will touch the heart of a reader in everlasting remembrance. Poetry should evoke the emotions, make people think, and each poet has his/her own style in conveying a message to achieve that for their audience. Myself, I go by intuition as to where to place a comma or break in stanzas – a bit of a rule breaker. I don’t get caught up in the measuring of meter, etc. Even if I did so spoken verse, I would break where it feels best and not follow the rules. :D

  6. I think the words are more important. None of my poetry rhythms (apart from Billy and His New Skin, sort of). The words are the feeling behind the writer, the emotion and inspiration. The words are the driving force. I think rhymed poetry stays with you more, is maybe easier to remember, a greater impact maybe?

    But for it’s the message that speaks. I was inspired (my writing has since taken a different turn) by myths, people in history, Egar Allen Poe, H P Lovecraft, Percy Shelly but also I adore pre-raphaelite poetry for it’s airy romances, nature settings etc.

    I like to write thought provoking pieces, sometimes with a moral to the tale…

  7. Thank you for this opportunity Brittany.

    For me, I hardly follow any rules in my poetry. I write from my heart, straight from it. I find that my poems are more flowing, spontaneous and passionate when I write without any inhibitions and rules. Though I do the occasional ‘rigid’ ones, based on some challenges I participate in. Thank you. :-)

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