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Make Your Own Crossword Puzzle

What are poems, and what is poetry? If you have an answer to the question, there's a good chance that you have no idea. I think we'd all agree that a poem is a work of art. While some aspects of poetry may be obvious or evident to many people, such as rhyming, theme, meter, structure, there is so much more. Here are a few things to think about when analyzing poetry:

Not every poem has to rhyme. Think of most any Haiku...
Not every poem needs to be laid out in semi-equal lines and sentences.
Not every poem needs to have a consistent meter.
Not every poem needs to follow a particular pattern.

Yes, poems should have some sort of theme.
Yes, poems should provide some sort of imagery.
Yes, poems should make you feel something.

Poetry, like music, paintings, sculpture or any work of art, is highly subjective. It is okay to like or dislike any work of art, but to label it as good, bad, right or wrong, strongly suggests that you don't know what you are talking about.

Art is art. Art has no boundaries or rules. When you stay within the parameters of set rules, it is no longer art. What you have is a paint by number piece, a crossword puzzle, a Mad Lib, an auto chord song on an electronic keyboard...I could go on, but hopefully you have understood my point.

As a professional songwriter and musician, I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what I know. Of course I don't want my stuff to sound like junk, but I sure want it to be creative and different than whatever else is out there. That is what art is, that is how new art forms are created. Poetry is no different. So if you like "Mary had a little lamb," that's fine. I'll change some words around and have an original poem. Great. But if you consider yourself an art lover, think outside of what you know and what you are used to and what you are told. You just might find something really amazing.

Copyright 2008 Matt McKay