Patricia Hubbell. Black Earth, Gold Sun. Marshall Cavendish, 2001. City Kids. Marshall Cavendish, 2001.
“Prose = words in their best order; Poetry = the best words in their best order”—Coleridge said it, and I believe it. Poetry IS about words—their precision, texture, beauty (and ugliness). Prose is about words, too, but not in the same way. Prose is about the bigger picture. The canvas is bigger and so are the brushstrokes. A good poem, whether narrated by a character or by the poet her/himself, uses words wonderfully, and it uses them to capture specific moments in a fresh way, a way that makes the reader exclaim with delight, “Yes, that’s it! That’s right!”
A good poem may also ask philosophical questions. In its condensed form, poetry gives these questions an immediacy, a great power to startle and grab the imagination. Poetry is great for asking—and sometimes answering—those questions that come to you just as you’re falling asleep.