This semester, I’ve experienced a great deal of exposure to texts I never would have delved into myself. It is safe to say that my definition of poetry, and maybe even of art, has changed a great deal. Before, I knew poetry did not have to rhyme, but I was much more comfortable if it did rhyme. The ABAB rhyme scheme was something that I could examine objectively and say “this is poetry.” Now, I know poetry does not have to rhyme to be considered poetry. It does not even have to be purely words on a page. It can include images and other artifacts, or words chosen by a computer algorithm, or even purely cuts of words from other peoples’ poetry.
Although we have often stressed in this class to not worry so much about the “author’s intention” in our search for the meaning in the poetry, I think sometimes whether we should classify something as poetry or not poetry has everything to do with author’s intention. If Nox was sold in the biographies section of Barnes and Noble, we may not see it as poetry. But it is sold in the poetry section, so it is a poem. Anne Carson (or her publisher, perhaps) made that intentional decision.
Putting together all the different things we have talked about over the course of this semester, I am forced to broaden my definition of poetry as being simply an inspired written product whose purpose is to entertain and whose reality is subjective (meaning, the ‘real facts’ of the poem are subjective and cannot be argued the way the ‘real facts’ of a story or informational essay can.) What this means for the future of poetry is that it will eventually boil down to just be words. The process and authorship are no longer important, as we see in “The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed.” Though sometimes there is a specific rhythm or scheme to the process, as we see in the A-Z sections of Reality Hunger, this is not something that is present in all poems. With the progression of digital technology as a medium for expression, I think we will see more examples similar to “The Dreamlife of Letters” that incorporate visual effects to enhance the aesthetics of the word. Overall, these things will add entertainment value but may take away from a uniform process for defining poetry.