What Is a Poem?

Flowers For Socrates

Happy Birthday to Annie Dillard, born April 30, 1945

Annie Dillard is an American author, best known for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. While she is better known for her prose works – essays, literary criticism, and narratives often based on her journals, she also writes poetry.

Defining poetry was a lot easier up until the late 19th Century. The advent of “Modern Poetry” and “free verse” has considerably opened the field, but has also caused confusion among people more accustomed to rhymed iambic pentameter.

So a “found poem” gets really controversial. It is a prose text written by one author which struck a different author as poetical, so they then edited and sometimes rearranged the original text to turn it into a poem. Annie Dillard published a whole book of them, called Mornings Like This: Found Poems.

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