Define ‘Poetry’

Poetry seems to loosely be the creation of meaning through the use of rhetorical figures and language movement.  Focus is given necessarily to constructing particular ideas/emotions specifically with such figures (metaphor, metonymy, simile, synecdoche, etc.) and the organization and flow of words–particularly with how they sound when arranged in specific ways.  This is unlike the poem’s friend (or frenemy, I guess, depending on the person you ask) the novel, which necessarily includes a narrative arc (or at least a sequence of events) and can rest on it over precise use of language.

Intro post! #vizpoem!

Hi!  My name is Ryan, and I teach at VCU.  My email is and my twitter handle is @ryancales.  I am not taking this course for credit, but am very interested in the nature and content of the class.  My experience with poetry comes primarily through discussions with close poet friends and a reading/workshop group I regularly attended.  Thanks for having me here!

I’m traveling sporadically this summer, though I will be available throughout and tend/plan to do most work and online communication during standard business hours.  I try to limit how much this bleeds into evenings and nights, but I continue to fail at this.

This blog contains material things other than this #vizpoem course, but all of my course posts can be found here: