Hmm. Just what is that mystifying, much-maligned character called a poet? Well, I is one, and answering the question is sort of like trying to nail Jello to a tree. But, being a Texan with a ten-gallon mouth, you know I'm gonna try (unless somebody knocks me down and steals my teeth!).
Marianne Moore famously described the poet's job as creating 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them'. Now there's a definition! Except with horned frogs and a sweat-slingin', bow-legged prince or two.
We could say a poet artistically renders words in such a way as to evoke intense emotion or an aha! experience from the reader. We could say poets use economy of language and are miserly and unrelentingly critical in the way they apply words to a page. But let's not do this. Don't shackle poetry with definitions. It can't be done. Poetry has enormous power, ya'll. Poetry is imagination and will break those chains faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind. And like grasping at that wind, once you catch it...it's no longer wind.
The wonderful and vastly prolific author, Paul Dorset, has posted an interview with me on his blog, Utterances Of An Overcrowded Mind, on Saturday, July 14, 2012. His publications include fantasy novels for ages 12-plus, how-to books for adults, and dark paranormal thrillers for ages 16+. I'd be grateful if you'd hop on over there and give it a read. Leave a comment for Paul if you have time, as he went to a lot of trouble...for which I give him a hearty, Texas-chick slap on the chaps and thanks! Just click the link to get there. Author Intervew: Jo VonBargen--Jo VonBargen 2012