Are Poems Fact or Fiction?

What is a poem: verse or its obverse?

Is it an imaginative figment?

Or a metered historical segment?

But does it really matter? Fact or Fiction.

When the reading habit’s in such a dereliction!

I am perhaps a 99% engineer and maybe a 1% poet. I will therefore, attempt to answer the captioned question from a logical perspective (as an engineer would) having done my 1% bit in the 5 line ‘poem’ above. 😐

I guess if the poet writes from personal experiences, it becomes non-fiction. I always feel that such lines best whet their readers’ imaginations. An epic, also, if (and only if) it is historically accurate becomes non-fiction. The other way to look at this is to perhaps surmise about the origins of poems and prose: perhaps what we sang became poems and what we orated, or told stories about, we wrote in long sentences and paragraphs. Since we must have sung songs of fact as well as fiction, maybe poetry flits across both categories. Even as prose, which may have originated from the ‘fact’ that we told stories that were both historical truisms as well as, well, ‘stories’.

In any case, I am trying to discover poetry. Now, since I read all kinds of non-fiction, and because most people seem to think of poems as fiction, I will apply my boundary of fiction to my poetry reading goals as well – which is to read poems written by Indian poets, or poems that are about India. Vikram Seth, here I come! I know it’s rare to come across an alien Indophile poet these days, but one never knows.

And just because, as a ‘good’ engineer, I must force fit my results to my observations, I must bring up the Dewey Classification System, which is a widely used method of classifying books in a library. It specifies the 800s for classifying literature with the 8X3 codes being used for fictional works. All poems are slotted as 8X1s therefore making poems non-fiction and therefore allowed to be a part of my reading diet!

Quod Erat Demonstrandum! (so much fuss for deciding what to read!!!)

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