The word poetry has its origins in Greek; the word “ποιεω” is a verb (poieo) and it means “I create”, so we can conclude that poetry is an art form in which our language is used not only for its abstract and linguistic contents but also facets of esthetic qualities are created in addition to other aforementioned uses. Poetry is the art of creation and this creation happens in abridgment. So you might ask what does it mean? Let me shed more light on it: poets employ some mechanisms to construct their work of art, these mechanisms are regarded as “literary devices”, a literary device like “Symbol” can convey lots of meaning and backgrounds of different kinds at a simple stroke (like the word rose that can symbolize martyrdom, war, love and blood at the same time). We should note that it is not only the literary devices that make this happen, the poetic diction and the imagination of the poets also play important roles in doing so.
The expressionism movement found no means better than painting and poetry to express its ideas through; “the Richness in Abridgment” as a prominent feature of poetry came to assist the expressionist poets. Use of sharp and clear-cut words is similar to the cubism style in painting. One word could convey a large amount of concepts and exhibit the inner feelings and worlds of the expressionists artists. The zeitgeist of that era was the general outrage of people and scholars against the war and the corrupted society; feelings of individuals were repressed and they felt a necessity to express those feelings out. Any piece of art was a reflection of those repressed emotions, whether being painted on paper or written through different poetic forms. Following the Richness in Abridgment notion, the poets of the expressionism era started to use specific diction and style which was rarely seen before; for instance, if we take a look at Oluwatomisin Oyegoke’s poem Humanity, we can specify words (diction) and single expressions that convey the mood of that time:
Beaten into submission by the depreciation of individuality
We have conformed to the ‘it’s all about me’ mantra of impartiality
Selection of the words is one important matter but organizing them is even more crucial. There are a few words being used in each line but the general picture depicts a society which has simply fallen from its values (referring to the war and the collapse of the human societies besides the effects of radical nationalism on the individuals). The words are sharp and clearly display the inner desperate feelings of collapse and disappointment. Here, it’s the words play the role of the sharp and distinctive colors that the expressionist artists use in their paintings, here, the words express the inner feelings of the poet.
Poetry has always been there, in wars, crisis and the triumphs of mankind, and the expressionists found no better means than the “poesy” to express what they thought and felt to the world; sceneries of the unknown inner world of humans were exposed through poetry.