A poem is a composition written in verse (although verse has also been used for epic and dramatic fiction). Poems make use of the aesthetic qualities of language to suggest differential meanings and to evoke emotive responses. Poems rely heavily on imagery and metaphor; they may have a rhythmic structure based on patterns of stresses (metric feet) or on patterns of different-length syllables (as in classical prosody); and they may or may not utilize rhyme. Due to the diversity of poetic forms and structures, poetry can be difficult to define and characterize. Typically though, poetry as a form of literature makes use of the formal properties of the words it uses – the properties of the written or spoken form of the words, independent of their meaning. For example, rhythm can be established by the number of syllables in the words or how these syllables are stressed; rhyme and alliteration depend on the sounds of the words.
Arguably, poetry pre-dates other forms of literature. Early examples include the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (dated from around 2700 B.C.), parts of the Bible, the surviving works of Homer (the Iliad and the Odyssey), and the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. In cultures based primarily on oral traditions the formal characteristics of poetry often have a mnemonic function, and important texts: legal, genealogical or moral, for example, may appear first in verse form.
Some poetry uses specific forms. Examples include the haiku, the limerick, and the sonnet. A traditional haiku written in Japanese relate to nature, contain seventeen onji (syllables), distributed over three lines in groups of five, seven, and five, and should also have a kigo, a specific word indicating a season. A limerick has five lines, with a rhyme scheme of AABBA, and line lengths of 3,3,2,2,3 stressed syllables. It traditionally has a less reverent attitude towards nature. Poetry not adhering to a formal poetic structure is called "free verse".
Language and tradition dictate some poetic norms: Persian poetry always rhymes whilst Greek poetry rarely does. Some languages contain more rhyming words than others. Italian, for example, has a rich rhyming structure permitting use of a limited set of rhymes throughout a lengthy poem. The richness results from word endings that follow regular forms. English, with its irregular word endings adopted from other languages, is less rich in rhyme. Perhaps the most paradigmatic style of English poetry, blank verse, as exemplified in works by Shakespeare and Milton, consists of unrhymed iambic pentameters. Some languages prefer longer lines; some shorter ones. Some of these conventions result from the ease of fitting a specific language's vocabulary and grammar into certain structures, rather than into others; For example, this may occur when a language typically has longer words than other languages. Other structural conventions come about as the result of historical accidents, where many speakers of a language associate good poetry with a verse form preferred by a particular skilled or popular poet.
In recent years, digital poetry has arisen that takes advantage of the artistic, publishing, and synthetic qualities of digital media.
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Other articles related to "poetry":
... Muse Domain Emblem Calliope Epic poetry Writing tablet Clio History Scrolls Erato Love poetry Cithara (an ancient Greek musical instrument in the lyre family) Euterpe Song and Elegiac poetry Aulos (an ancient ... Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet Clio (history) carries a scroll and books Erato (love/erotic poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of ...
... He returned to poetry in 1960, and his first book, "Into the Stone and Other Poems", was published in 1960 and "Drowning with Others" was published in 1962, which led ... After being named a poetry consultant for the Library of Congress, he published his first volume of collected poems, "Poems 1957-1967" in 1967 ...
... even then there was some variation in both their names and their attributes Calliope -epic poetry Clio -history Euterpe -flutes and lyric poetry Thalia -comedy and pastoral poetry Melpomene -traged ...
... In addition to specific forms of poems, poetry is often thought of in terms of different genres and subgenres ... A poetic genre is generally a tradition or classification of poetry based on the subject matter, style, or other broader literary characteristics ... Narrative poetry Narrative poetry is a genre of poetry that tells a story ...
... Life in the City (1956, poetry, Ukrainian) Popoludni v Pokipsi (Afternoons in Poughkeepsie) (1960, poetry, Ukrainian, New York Group Publishing) Shljaxy (Roads) (1961, novel ... plays, Ukrainian, Rodovid) An Ideal Woman (1999, poetry, Ukrainian) The City of Sticks and Pits (1999, book-length poem, Ukrainian) Jix nemaje (They Don't Exist) (1999, collected ...
Famous quotes containing the word poetry:
“Poetrys unnatral; no man ever talked poetry cept a beadle on boxin day, or Warrens blackin or Rowlands oil, or some o them low fellows; never you let yourself down to talk poetry, my boy.”
—Charles Dickens (18121870)
“Much poetry seems to be aware of its situation in time and of its relation to the metronome, the clock, and the calendar. ... The season or month is there to be felt; the day is there to be seized. Poems beginning When are much more numerous than those beginning Where of If. As the meter is running, the recurrent message tapped out by the passing of measured time is mortality.”
—William Harmon (b. 1938)