What makes a poem … a poem? - Melissa Kovacs

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Muhammad Ali spent years training to become the greatest boxer

the world had ever seen,

but only moments to create the shortest poem.

Ali captivated Harvard's graduating class in 1975

with his message of unity and friendship.

When he finished, the audience wanted more.

They wanted a poem.

Ali delivered what is considered the shortest poem ever.

"Me, we."

Or is it "me, weeee"?

No one's really sure.

Regardless, if these two words are a poem, then what exactly makes a poem a poem?

Poets themselves have struggled with this question,

often using metaphors to approximate a definition.

Is a poem a little machine?

A firework?

An echo?

A dream?

Poetry generally has certain recognizable characteristics.

One - poems emphasize language's musical qualities.

This can be achieved through rhyme, rhythm, and meter,