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Poems and Poetry - The Heart of a Poet

Updated on January 4, 2015

Poetry Has Form and Structure

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18.  Iambic pentameter first appeared in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in late 14th century.
Shakespeare's Sonnet 18. Iambic pentameter first appeared in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in late 14th century. | Source

Poets have been writing poetry since time began. Poems begin in the head and heart, not with the pen. A poet is not necessarily someone who writes poems, but is someone who sees the world poetically, and is able to express it by way of language.

Most people can compose a poem, but the simple act of writing doesn't make a poet. A poet looks at the world and sees poetry, in everything, and is able to express it with specific language. A visual artist may see the world through images and is able to express it with paint. A musician may hear the world and express it with sounds.

A poet therefore, must be able to use language to convey emotion, depth, reality, fantasy, hope, despair, love, death, illusion.

Without poetry, humanity has nowhere to hang its soul. A good poem can give us hope or laughter, tears, joy. A great poem can remind us of the magnitude of life itself. Life is so multidimensional, if we dare to enter into the life of a poem.

How Is a Poet Inspired?

The poet has the task of crafting language in order to give inspiration, in whatever form, to the reader. The world is the poets canvas. There are some poems waiting to be born, begging to be written. A poet will know when this happens.

A poet can be inspired at any moment, in the most unlikely environments, by the most seemingly, non-poetic topics or situations.

It could be the look in the eye of a passerby, or the sound of an unrelenting wind, the horrific image of a war torn road, the causal glance into the blue of the sky, the complexity of disease or famine, the beauty of love or its painful departure. Poetry is the ability to express what readers need to feel.

Part One: Life ~ V1~

"If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain."

Emily Dickinson ~

The heart of a poet belongs to the world. A poet writes for the masses realizing the reader is an individual. Once the poem is written and published for others to read and discover, now the poem belongs to the reader.

It is this relationship between the reader and the poem that is the very heart of a poet. A reader will bring what he brings to the poem and make it meaningful. The poet’s work is accomplished. A poem is like any work of art in this respect, it has individual meaning in understanding and perception.


What Is the Heart of a Poet?

I have written poems in which readers assumed I was writing about a personal experience. This is certainly not the case. A poet must be able to write in such a manner that it conveys a real experience that may be universal in feeling. And of course, poets will use real life experiences as inspiration, and yet be able to separate themselves from the poem and appeal to the whole of humanity.

Composing a poem requires skill, knowledge of language, styles of poetry and figures of speech, feeling, and a selflessness, wanting to express. A poet must read poetry.

A Noiseless, Patient Spider~

" NOISELESS, patient spider,

I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;

Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,

It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;

Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,

Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, --seeking the spheres, to connect them

Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor hold;

Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul."

Walt Whitman~

Poetry is the lifeblood of civilization, giving it meaning and reason, hopelessness, joy, depravity, serenity, humor, recklessness and abandon, humility, compassion, love, death, life, a sense of purpose. The heart of a poet weaves a thread of humanity throughout the world. Enjoy it, read it often, compose it with love and respect.

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry - Ed Hirsch

How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry
How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry
This is an excellent book written by the well-known poet-teacher, Ed Hirsch. Reading it will both educate and inspire those who read and write poetry.

The Raven - Edgar Allen Poe - (a favorite of mine)

Thank You For Reading and Please Feel Free to Leave a Comment.

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    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      I see you are a poet

      For your eyes can see

      The thoughts of every artist

      In a painting by the sea

      And without a poet

      Songs would never be


      I love this Rebakah, Blessings

    • CrisSp profile image


      4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Thank you for this hub filled with so much appreciation and insights on one of my favourite subjects: poetry.

      You nailed it and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • H.C Porter profile image


      5 years ago from Lone Star State

      I can't believe I haven't seen this before. I love how you say that a poem belongs to the reader once it is published. I couldn't agree more. Great write- thanks for sharing.


    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Audrey, thanks so much! I wrote this hub at the time of the Patron of the ARts contest. I thought it might help some of the writers who entered their work. I appreciate your kind words!

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Rebekah - Thank you for sharing this hub about the making of a poet. The quotes from other poets added to your hub. Your own poems are a joy to read. You made this poetry hub into a large look at the realm of the poet, and it is far from a short poetry hub. The words make the hub. Sharing, Blessings, Audrey


    • abbaelijah profile image


      6 years ago from Abuja - Nigeria

      I enjoy reading your poems

      Thanks for sharing !

      And thanks for the educative link you provided, i know they will be use full to me even to other who stumble at your page to read.

    • joedolphin88 profile image


      6 years ago from north miami FL

      I've actually recently written quite a few poems on here and always been a poetry writer. I like the information you've listed and I have enjoyed reading the sample poems throughout. I'd love it if you'd revise some of my poems, you seem very knowledgeable.

    • Theater girl profile image


      7 years ago from New Jersey

      Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind compliment!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks Theater girl! I appreciate your comment. You're a fantastic writer. I love your poetic style.

    • Theater girl profile image


      7 years ago from New Jersey

      I love the information and the way this essay is written. Thanks for sharing!

    • c-m-hall profile image


      7 years ago from York, Maine

      One day at a time ... Yes it is!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Hi Cher, Thanks for wandering over to my poetry hub. It's nice to meet you! I'm always so happy to see comments on these poetry hubs, hoping that my words can inspire others and bring beautiful feelings your way.

      Life is so full, isn't it?? :)

    • c-m-hall profile image


      7 years ago from York, Maine

      I just wandered over... This is Fantastic! Thank you! "A great poem can remind us of the magnitude of life itself" - "Without poetry humanity has nowhere to hang it's soul" - Cher

    • Eiddwen profile image


      8 years ago from Wales

      So beautiful!!!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks for reading Vellur and phdast7. I appreciate your comments.

      phd, Thanks so much. It's really nice to hear from a college professor. I wrote this in preparation for the HubPages Patron of the Arts contest last November. I served as one of the members of the poetry panel. It was an amazing experience reading so many poems. I'm glad you enjoyed the selections I used in this hub. I think they are both perfectly penned.

      My pleasure to share your hubs!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      rebekah - I absolutely loved this Hub. You used the most poetic of prose to describe poetry, the poet's vision, and his/her responsibility to the eventual, but as yet unseen and unknown reader. Marvelously lyrical and inspiring writing. :)

      BTW - I have certainly noticed and greatly appreciate when you SHARE one of my Hubs and I am grateful for your reference to my work in the Forums. Thank you kindly. :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      You have written about poetry and poets so very well. Loved your hub. Voted up.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      So nice to see you leni! Thank you so much, and I'm happy to hear you enjoyed reading this hub and the generous comments.

      HP has such a fantastic arts community that is very active and supportive. Christopher Walkin has the perfect voice to recite The Raven, doesn't he?

      lyns, thanks! That's a great compliment you've shared!

      @PDXKarokeGuy, an appreciative shout-out for sharing my hub! :)

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks PDX. I'll have to drop by and read more of your poetry work. I think you summed it up well with your example of love. Perfect!

      Thank you Audrey, you are exactly who this hub is written for, those who love and appreciate poetry!

      Thanks Debby. Isn't it so powerful how very effective poems remain with us forever?

    • lyns profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Awesome and so true, wow, I loved this piece of work, as you read it you feel the expression of what you are writing about.... love it, great work..lyns

    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 

      8 years ago from UK

      Not only did I enjoy reading this hub I also enjoyed reading all the comments and your more than eloquent responses. 'The raven' was an excellent choice to close this great hub, thanks for sharing!

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      8 years ago

      Very beautiful and my favorite poems ever. Blessings, Debby

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      8 years ago from California

      Loved, loved, loved this hub! But then I am partial to poetry!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      8 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      excelelnt work. I've written about this very subject many times and I think you complimented what I have to say on the subject. To me, poetry captures an image or moment in time and turns the abstract (let's say, Love) into something concrete (say, a mother holding a new born child.)

      well done!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      kclaar, thanks for your sincere comment. I can feel it in your words! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. :)

    • kclaar profile image


      8 years ago from Tyrone, Pennsylvania

      What a wonderful article to come across. Thank you so much for sharing this. Loved this, "Without poetry, humanity has nowhere to hang its soul."

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Made, thank you! Poems can be inspired from so many different sources, can't they? I'm glad you enjoyed reading this hub and found it helpful.

      Thanks Dim, I think the same is true. I like to think of a poet being a word artist. Words become so meaningful in a poetic setting. Thanks for reading and commenting. :))

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      This was an excellent hub. Your statements about poets and poetry were perfectly true.

      An artist without paint is how I see a poet. An artist with words.

      Thank you for this wonderful hub

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 

      8 years ago from Finland

      This hub is great! It really explains what poetry is. I can really relate to you saying: "I have written poems in which readers assumed I was writing about a personal experience. This is certainly not always the case." I really enjoyed reding this hub.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Vinaya, I've read your poems. Not only do you have a poet's soul, you have the heart, the language and the voice that makes a poet stand out from the rest. Keep composing your very fine poems.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      8 years ago from Nepal

      "Most people can compose a poem, but the simple act of writing doesn't make a poet."

      How true you are.

      Though my most read hubs are poems, I do not consider myself poet.

      Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • profile image

      Deborah Langford 

      8 years ago

      Wow, what can I say.. what a great piece on being a poet.. My experiences in life bad or good has brought so many words to me straight from my soul.. Whether good or bad the thoughts and expressions brings forth my feelings and helps me emotionally..I thank you for your writing and helping us all to express what we are thinking.. To be there in our minds and deep in our souls.. The words jump out onto the page to bring to life what we see. Thanks again. Deborah

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      WannaB, I know what you mean. When it seems like nothing is begging to be written, that's when you can choose whatever you want, and go to your favorite place to write. If there still is nothing, look around, use all of your senses and see what happens. Taking a walk helps me. Thanks for reading and your comments!

      @goego, so glad you found the hub helpful! It also includes some helpful, informative poetry links. Thanks!

    • goego profile image


      8 years ago from Loserland

      at a loss of glad to find a world school

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      My favorite lines: "There are some poems waiting to be born, begging to be written. A poet will know when this happens. I used to have so many begging to be written, but I'm finding it harder to write poetry when I'm happy. I still see the world as poet sees it, but nothing jumps up in my soul and says, "Write me" anymore. Voted up and awesome.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks frogyfish. I plan to write more about the interaction between the poet and the reader as soon as I have a decent block of time to write. It's as much a part of the poem, as the poem itself. A poem is not complete without the reader.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!

      @bravewarrior, I look forward to reading your submissions!

      @kimberlyslyrics, Thanks for reading and I'm happy that you found it inspirational and understandable. I'm sure you will have some fantastic entries in the contest. You have a natural way with language and communicating with the reader! Enjoy the process. xo

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You know, this was most helpful and reads in a way that is not just inspirational but understandable (to me) Thank you Rebekah

      In no way is this comment a reflection that you are a judge for the upcoming November contest ha XO

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 years ago from Central Florida

      As a matter of fact, I will be submitting in the upcoming contest. I'm looking forward to it and possibly getting some feedback from you, as well!

    • frogyfish profile image


      9 years ago from Central United States of America

      I like your definition of a poet! Also, the interaction between poet and reader...that is the reward to gain. I shall follow you to read more. Thank you very much for sharing your beautiful expressive words.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Kenneth, Thanks for reading and taking time to leave such a nice comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub. It's so nice to meet other hubbers by way of comments! Enjoy HP!

      @prasetio, so very nice to see you! I'm sure with your writing talent that you could compose a fantastic poem. Your hubs are always well done! Cheers and thank you!

      @bravewarrior, It's always nice to meet a kindred soul. I hope you plan to enter some poems in the up and coming HubPages Patron of the Arts writing contest. It will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase your work. Enjoy!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      9 years ago from Central Florida

      I, too am a poet and your words seep into my soul. It's the little things in life: a breeze, a sunset, a hummingbird seeking nectar from your garden, along with deep emotions and the results thereof; elation, dissapointment, hatred, negativity, hope, love of God. The poet is inspired by life. And even death. It's nice to have found a kindred soul!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love poem and I love this hub. Very inspiring hub and I hope I can make a beautiful poem for us. Well done, my friend. Vote up!


    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      9 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, rebekah, GREAT READ. Wonderfully-written. Thank you for sharing your grand talent with us. Love the lay-out too. Have a great life and keep up the great work.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, AL.

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      saddlewriter, It's so nice to see you here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and such meaningful comments. I look forward to sharing the Poetry panel with you in the up and coming Patron of the Arts contest. I'm sure we're going to read some very fine poetry!

      @Roberthewettsr, thanks so much for your comment! It means a lot to me. It's very nice to meet another poet! I like your name, Cottonwood Poet, very nice imagery.

      @Leokadia Durmaj, Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave such a nice comment. How very nice to meet an Undercover Angel.

    • profile image

      Leokadia Durmaj 

      9 years ago

      Hi Rebekah, you have captured the very essence of how a poet transforms his thoughts through his words into breathtaking pictures for the reader. Poet's have to feel with their heart and soul to create amazing images and deep emotions through words.

      A most inspirational piece to read.

      Leokadia (Lee) aka Undercover Angel

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image

      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 

      9 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      This is outstanding commentary, poetry and teaching.

      Great imagery in poetry puts the poet right there with

      the artist who paints a picture. The poet lets you see

      the painting through choice of words, flow and continuity. Thanks for posting this gem. Robert aka

      Cottonwood Poet

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      livelonger, thank you so much! I'm not familiar with a lot of her work, but will read some of her poems. I love finding favorites of others. Poets have such a way of extending their voice beyond the borders. We can learn much from these great writers.

      @sannel, I'm glad you found this hub also and enjoyed reading. Emily Dickensen has such an extensive work of poetry and it's pure pleasure for anyone who enjoys reading poetry. I agree!

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Firstly I agree with all the wonderful comments above mine here. A Poet draws from many resources around him/her. The world is our palette to paint the verses we do. I draw from personal experiences, the bad, good and the ugly. I mediate on my words and my Muse will eventually come out of the dark shadows to place quill in hand and have me sit and scribe.

      Life and death is Poetry and we draw from a very deep well. This is a very interesting Hub you created here and I admire your talent as a creative writer as well as a brilliant Poet. Well done, Bravo...rated UP..

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks GL, I think one of the keys in understanding poetry is realizing it's for the reader to interpret. Too often, readers try to interpret it from the poet's mindset, which sometimes is impossible. The book suggested above by Ed Hirsch is a great resource and can also be found at libraries also. He covers a lot of poets and poems and it's very helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      @always exploring, thank you! Always happy to meet another poetry lover.

      @Pamela, Thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Poets take their work seriously and it's always nice to see when hard work and creativity are rewarded. Most poets are simply happy to have others read and enjoy their work.

    • SanneL profile image


      9 years ago from Sweden

      I'm so glad that I found this inspiring hub. I do believe that the simple act of writing doesn't make a poet, but a great mind with a big heart and soul does. Emily Dickinson is one of my favorites. She really had the greatest ability to draw the reader into her wonderful imagery world.

      Thank you!


    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      What a beautiful and insightful Hub, RebekahELLE. I love good poetry, too, and I think you've conveyed what makes a truly great poet so powerful. I'm a big fan of Wislawa Szymborska, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I have great respect for poets. This was a wonderful, informative article. Thank you for the excellent information.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love poetry. Your 'Heart of a poet' is interesting and well defined. Thank you......

    • Green Lotus profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      How lovely rE. I'm one of those people who needs educating when it comes to appreciating and really understanding poetry. I have no problem with Poe's poetry and The Raven is one of my favorites,so thanks for the video!

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Thanks Winsome, I'm always delighted to see your visit. Poe was one of the first real poets that inspired me to read and write poetry. I was fascinated by his imagery and use of metaphors. I remember having to memorize Annabelle Lee in elementary school. I have always loved his poetry.

      You certainly have the poetic muse working for you. Your poems are so beautiful. I always enjoy reading them. Thanks for sharing this poem in the comment section for others to enjoy! xo

      Hi LA! Thanks for reading and sharing such a nice comment.

      I'm happy you enjoyed reading and found it engaging! I appreciate your words and time. :]

    • LABrashear profile image


      9 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Full of information and beautiful. I loved "Without poetry, humanity has nowhere to hang its soul." Well written and engaging.

    • Winsome profile image


      9 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi Rebekah, I like the "where humanity hangs its soul." Poe seemed to get his inspiration from "many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore." Sometimes when I read what someone else experienced or hear a song, it sets me to writing too.

      Where are you muse, that sits on my soul

      Biding your time, hiding your smile

      My soul is silent, show your face

      And smile into me and I will paint the world with wonder

      No ivory filled hall, no castle of stone

      But I will build you dreams

      Gateways to stars and galaxies

      And a path by a brook

      Where you may sit among the green grass

      While I hold you with my words

      Like that I guess. =:)

    • rebekahELLE profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Petra, Thank you for such a beautiful comment. I know you understand perfectly what I mean and you have expressed it well. Your poetry is some of my favorite here at HP. Your hub about writing sounds interesting. I will be sure to read it! Yes, I like your last words, just take me there, the very essence of a poem.

      Hi Terishere, thank you. I think you're right about poets being deep thinkers. And I love the concept of a poem being a painting with words. So very true.

    • Terishere profile image


      9 years ago

      Very good hub and you have said it so well, about the heart of a poet... Most poets are deep thinkers, speak from the heart and soul, and can put immense imagery and feeling into their words...

      I always say: a Poem is a painting with words


    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      BRAVO my dear

      I am so glad you wrote this meaningful hub and expressed so eloquently the essence of poetry and the heart of a poet. Too often people consider rhythm as being an intrinsic part of poetry and ignore the most important part of it – the metaphor – which is the only thing that separates poetry from prose.

      Poetry is a subtle form of refined thinking and implied emotional participation and by no means should it ever be a closed ended statement or a declaration of sentiment.

      Some time ago I wrote a hub “What it takes to be a great writer” and as an explanation of poetic abilities I mentioned the necessity of the poet to draw the reader into the poet’s personal universe; “don’t tell me about a beautiful sunset, JUST TAKE ME THERE”


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