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Poem anthologies like Innerlight’s Eat and Drink My Words by Grace Crook draw from intimate and personal experiences that ultimately seek to inspire others to express themselves.

For every issue each person faces, there are multiple ways they can fail to express them. Sometimes, emotions are difficult to parse out.

But as expressive and social creatures, humans invented poetry.

According to Dictionary.com, poetry can be defined as the art of rhythmical composition or a literary work in metrical form. Though those definitions are accurate, they are pretty reductive and do not fully encompass the diversity of medium and structure that poetry can take.

Before the alphabet or the invention of writing, there was poetry. It is intuitive. There was already language to which poetry is deeply tied.

So, it is no wonder that the oldest poetic forms are oral in medium (which have evolved today into spoken word and slam poetry, to name a few). When writing was invented, poetry adapted to those forms, producing sonnets, ballads, odes, etc.; poetry is still evolving.

There are poetic tweets that work within Twitter’s character limits, prose poetry that eschews much of poetry’s lyricism, and sound poetry that tries to create music by using phonetics, basically a “verse without words.”

This fluidity and deliberateness that poetry has allowed for endless experimentation. It also makes it easier for amateurs to become new poets since there is no fixedness or specificity like prose literature and the fine arts might have.

Since time immemorial, poetry has been the most reliable medium that humans can express themselves.

More Than Words

Most poetry revolves around personal and intimate observations of life and living. By recording life and recounting these memories through the lens of poetics, poets can craft their most memorable verses.

Remember Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when the eponymous character proclaimed, “To be, or not to be: that is the question.”

This line resonates with people because they tap into deep anxiety within everyone about the nature of living: is it better to struggle against life or die? “To be or not to be” is not just a pithy declaration but an encapsulation of what it means to be human.

The intertextual difference between prose and poetry is that while the former can convey more information and a coherent narrative, the latter speaks directly to the heart, despite its form and structure.

That is because poetry relies heavily on personal interpretation and relatability.

Some novels require multiple rereads before understanding their themes and concepts, but reading poetry only needs one dedicated sitting.

Poetry might be reduced to simple words, but these words are carefully cultivated and arranged to convey precisely the poet’s emotions or experiences that are unique to their perspective.

Compare just saying, “Human works are temporal,” with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, a whole sonnet on that theme. With poetry, a simple idea or a singular emotion can be expanded, warped, or twisted into unconventional perspectives, pushing broader the human imagination of that concept.

So, whether it’s writing or reading, poetry is an excellent tool for expressing oneself.

Recommended Readings

Pulling Words by Nicholas Trandahl

In this anthology, the highs and lows of life are portrayed in vivid and evocative verse. Nicholas Trandahl lets readers see through his eyes the world of his childhood, his time as a soldier touring the Middle East, and the idyllic charm of small-town America.

Pulling Words instills in readers a wanderlust for the world while acknowledging the depth of experience.

Innerlight’s Eat and Drink My Words by Grace Crook

Grace Crook takes readers through the complexities of life, showing that most events are never wholly bad or good. With simple but spell-binding verses, Innerlight is a story of overcoming adversity told through a sequence of poems.

This collection will be inspirational for readers going through similar ups and downs.

Table for One by Laura Ashley Laraque

Unflinchingly and refreshingly blunt, Laura Ashley Laraque doesn’t pull the punches in this anthology of poems that revolve around heartbreak, loneliness, and acceptance.

Everyone struggles with solitude and heartache at least once in their lives, and Table for One is a great read to process those emotions.

God Heals The Pain by Tamir A. Shaw

Written in prose poetry in the vein of Khalil Gibran, God Heals The Pain is a hopeful reflective treatise on the wonders and surprises of life, love, and spirituality. It is filled to the brim with optimism and faith.

This collection by Tamir A. Shaw is a must-read for the religiously minded to reinforce their faith.

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