Although we have discussed this before, I wanted to make it more clear as to the differences between 'show' and 'tell' when it comes to writing poetry.
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It has nothing to do with losing your own voice, losing the intended content of your piece or abiding by rules covered in cobwebs and dust.
This is simply a rule to help in making the reader care about what you have written. To 'evoke' an emotion in the reader rather than simply gain their sympathy, empathy or good natured comment.
There is always room for abstraction, but only if done well.
These two below show the difference between show and tell:
'My father likes to play ball' - Tell
'My father threw the ball in the air' - Show
It is a rather basic example but the latter is a more concrete image. The first is a generalisation in which most readers would say, so what?
A very good tool in using this in your writing is to describe one thing by writing about another, I'll just make this up:
'My father was with his ball,
in a way they looked quite similar,
round, hairless and smooth.'
Here you are offering something more concrete, you are provding a description which you can touch and see using your senses, unlike using generalised words such as 'my dad is fat'. Nothing really in that.
With the English language as it is, asking a writer to show is a bit like asking a painter to tell. That is where the difficulty lies in writing in such an art form as poetry.
Our language is designed so that we do not have to carry around with us a dictionary of thousands of words. Everything has a name, a neat little pocket to place it in terms of language. English is the adminsitration centre of our world as we can place everything into a tidy draw.
Poetry is not about offering simple descriptions. It is about imagery and symbolism which when done properly can make you laugh, cry or even fill with anger.
So the obvious point is that as poets, we are trying to get across experience rather than information. My examples are rather basic and only fit into the very simplist definition of show rather than tell.
I hope this was a good introduction.
Ask not what you can do to poetry, but what poetry can do to you.