Poetry Is… An Invitation


we crash, crowd and compete
but within our community,
we find our best selves

Copyright 2018 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: I had a great critique group meeting yesterday. I am in awe of their mad skills and generosity. I was part of something larger than me: an ocean of words, a sea of stories. I’m not sure if I was a seal or a seagull, but I’m afloat.

Poetry Friday with kids

Happy Poetry Friday! Thanks to Carol at BeyondLiteracyLink for hosting. Has anyone seen the community poem created by Morning Edition listeners and Kwame Alexander? Although holiday-themed, it inspired me to offer to organize a community poem. Anyone interested? If so keep reading…

Please leave a line (or two) about what poetry is or what it means to you (either quote or original with attribution). Once I have enough, I’ll post them on a future Poetry Friday, with an invitation to write your own poem from them. I’ll get us started:

Poetry Is…

… ice cream on a summer day. (Brenda Harsham)
… deep thoughts wrapped in golden words. (Deb Whittam)
…  the flutter of words at sunrise. (Jone Rush MacCulloch)
…  a quest. La poésie est une quête. (Prunelles9)
…  a ripple on still water. (Beth)
…  the music of words, our first language. (Laura Shovan)
…  truth waiting to be found. (Michelle Kogan)
…  a way of walking in the world. A ministry of presence. A stormcloud about to burst. (Irene Latham invites us to pick one)
…  the roots; sending fingers of truth deep into the earth, and sprouting hope. (Kathryn Apel)
…  the beauty and honesty of the unspoken. (Matt Forrest Esenwine)
…  the quiet heartbeat of life. (Kay McGriff)
…  the air that lives in our souls…the rhythm of our existence. (Kennie Vevah)
…  the essence of reality and the reality of essence. (Donna Smith)
…  an umbrella on a rainy day. (Jane Whittingham)
…  my breathing space, my heart’s song, my soul’s prayer. (Myra Garces-Bacsal)
…  more questions than answers. (Mary Lee Hahn)
…  the gentle wonderings of a world calling me to unravel its beauty in words. (Carol Varsalona)
…  seeing myself in the mirror of another’s eyes. (Michelle H. Barnes)
…  my imaginings made real. (Linda Mitchell)
…  eliminating the unnecessary. (Diane Mayr)
…  the joyful heartbeat of words to share. (Kiesha Shepard)
…  a bell and its echo all at once. (Robyn Hood Black)
…  a cup of tea with a friend you will never meet, a connection across time, words that outlive our lives. (Ali Grimshaw)
…  a cure to the wounds of life. (anondotverse)
…  a gift. (OneHundred&OnePursuits)
…  what prose can’t be. It’s a photograph rather than the whole film. (Bliss Winters)
…  the gentle click that pulls it all into focus. (Molly Hogan)
…  the words that tremble from my mouth but stand strong at the end of my pen. Poetry is strength! (BigDJean)
…  the essence of my complex simplicity. (Ashley Yeager)
…  a basket we weave with words to store the world. (Brenda Davis Harsham)
…  the very beating of the heart. (theBookishNook)


And quotes:
Charles Simic says: “Poems are other people’s snapshots in which we see our own lives.” (Diane Mayr)



123 thoughts on “Poetry Is… An Invitation

        • In the original Poetry Is… An Invitation, I not only invited people to leave their take on it, but also said I would collect the lines and publish them with an invitation to use them to write a poem from the words. So we will have a collected community poem, and we can use the full poem to “find” other poems within it. You know about found poetry? I am already working on the new post, Poetry Is… A Revelation, which will go up on February 8. I am too lazy to update the old post and the new post. So your addition have gone into the new draft and will be part of the February 8 post. Congrats. Many of the poets included have many books of poetry making the world a more beautiful place. If you visit the poetry friday link-up, you can follow the links, visit and get to know them. We are a kidslit crowd primarily, but lots of good poetry is all around us. You are always welcome at friendlyfairytales as well. Your site is full of beauty and strength. I’m glad we met.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Moon River | Friendly Fairy Tales
  2. I think everyone’s said all that needs to be said. The only thing I have to offer comes from being a haiku writer: poetry is eliminating the unnecessary.

    Here’s one of my favorite quotes about poetry, by Charles Simic: “Poems are other people’s snapshots in which we see our own lives.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ack! I’m late to the party. Usually, I read your blog early in PF. What happened to me? Anyway, I love this and have really enjoyed reading the contributions. Thank you for inviting all of us today. I am responding with…
    Poetry is my imaginings made real.

    Hugs and high-fives for your post this week.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. from me….Poetry is the quiet heartbeat of life.

    And one of my favorite poems is Charles Bukowski’s “Defining the Magic” where every line starts with “A good poem…” My favorites include “A good poem is a gun when the mob corners you”
    “a good poem can frame agony and hand it on the wall”
    There’s much more, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poetry is… a way of walking in the world. A ministry of presence. A stormcloud about to burst. (Pick one!) Do you know Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s speech about what poetry is? They made it into a little book you can find here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Poetry-Lawrence-Ferlinghetti/dp/0887393691/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516972688&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=poetry+is+lawerence+ferlinghetti
    I use it when I teach poetry and do what you are doing here… ask students to find their own definition. Wonderful way to connect and also conjure some beautiful analogies. Also, Matt de la Pena’s new book LOVE is the same concept. Beautiful! And you know, you can be both gull AND seal. You are. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Irene, I am familiar with the beat poets and Lawrence Ferlinghetti but I haven’t read this book. Ted Hughes also has a book named Poetry Is. I believe I’ll read them both. I like all three of your definitions, and if you don’t object, I’ll add them all. I hope you’ll join us to write a poem from them down the road.

      I haven’t read Matt de la Pena’s new book LOVE, but I look forward to it. I read your book with great pleasure, Can I Touch Your Hair? and I was pleased to talk it over with my kids. Thanks to you and Charles for bringing it into the world.


    • I’m glad you liked the poem, thanks! And yes, finding IRL critique groups has really helped my writing. I’ve had some back and forth with agents about mss, a piece accepted by Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Amazing Mom Anthology, and poetry accepted for a few other anthologies. I feel very lucky, but I have so much more I want to do. I thought I would try to give back and offer to connect more people by inviting people to share in a community poem.


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