What's the point of poetry? Why wrestle with words, alliteration and allusion, rhythm and rhyme? Who needs metaphors strewn like flowers on a bridal path, when plain speech works just fine?

Two reasons: effectiveness and aesthetics. Poetry is efficient communication, designed to capture and condense meaning into the smallest possible volume. Each well-chosen phrase carries more than its own weight; each syllable conveys a multidimensional message. But good poetry is also beautiful, with polished facets, well-rounded curves, and flares of brilliance. Poetry joins function and form, and when it works well, startles us into a new awareness of ourselves and our world.

Wednesday, August 18, 1999 at 05:08:41 (EDT) = 1999-08-18


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