English Language Arts Poetry

By:Hanna Steinberg

Importance of poetry

Poetry is vital language. Poetry relies on the writer's feelings, history and perceptions, so every person has the background needed to write poems. Because poetry draws on the senses and the senses give deep access to memories and feelings, poetry writing is relevant and interesting.

Poetry is ancient. The most primitive peoples have used it, and the most civilized have cultivated it. In all ages and in all countries, poetry has been written – and eagerly read or listened to– by all kinds and conditions of people – by statesmen, lawyers, farmers, doctors, scientists, clergymen, philosophers, soldiers, kings and queens.

In all ages, poetry has been regarded as important, not simply for pleasure, but as something central to each individual'’s existence, something of unique value, and something which makes us feel better off for having and which we are spiritually impoverished without.

Initially, poetry might be defined as a language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language. In order to understand this fully, we need to understand what it is that poetry “says”. Poetic language is employed on different occasions to say quite different kinds of things. Therefore, poetry is language of different uses. While novels, short stories and plays bring us a sense and a perception of life, their concern is with experience. The poet may create new experiences for the reader in which the reader can participate and which will give him or her a greater awareness and understanding of the world.

Poetry is the literary vehicle which is not only an aid to living but a means of living. For example, an encyclopedia can offer information on elephants. You can discover where they live, what they eat and how they breed. This information is only for practical purposes only. You can grasp the ivory of the elephant, but not its soul. The encyclopedia will not touch on its majesty, wild grandeur, strength or power. The poem can turn the elephant from a museum specimen into the highest concrete visual image that comes alive in the mind of the reader. For the living elephant, we must turn to poetry.

Poetry takes all life as its province. Its primary concern is not with beauty, not with philosophical truth, not with persuasion, but with experience. Beauty and philosophical truth are aspects of experience, and the poet is often engaged with them. Poetry as a whole is concerned with all kinds of experience – beautiful & ugly, strange & common, noble & ignoble, actual & imaginary.

One of the paradoxes of human existence is that all experience, when transmitted through the medium of art, becomes enjoyable. Even painful experience is pleasurable when poetry romanticizes hard labour, poverty and even death.

Poetry comes to us bringing life, and focuses on giving us a better understanding of life. Between poetry and other genres of literature there is one sharp distinction. Poetry writing is a friend to all writers. Engrossing and honest, poetry extends universally to all members of society. Poetry exists to communicate significant experience imaginatively and creatively, deepening our knowledge of the senses more poignantly.

Poetry can be inspirational on the highest level, when it provides the reader with a precious affair, frequently incandescent, giving off both light and heat. Finally, poetry is a kind of multi-dimensional language. It is directed at the whole person, not just at his understanding. It must involve the reader’'s senses, intelligence, emotions and imagination. Poetry achieves its extra dimensions per word by employing devices including metaphor, allusion, sound, repetition, rhythm, irony, symbol, connotation and imagery. Using these resources and the materials of life, poetry, in its highest form, comes alive on the page.

What poems mean

Poetry

Poetry (ancient Greek: ποιεω (poieo) = I create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. It consists largely of oral or literary works in which language is used in a manner that is felt by its user and audience to differ from ordinary prose.

It may use condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the reader's or listener's mind or ear; it may also use devices such as assonance and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Poems frequently rely for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. The interactive layering of all these effects to generate meaning is what marks poetry.

Because of its nature of emphasising linguistic form rather than using language purely for its content, poetry is notoriously difficult to translate from one language into another: a possible exception to this might be the Hebrew Psalms, where the beauty is found more in the balance of ideas than in specific vocabulary. In most poetry, it is the connotations and the "baggage" that words carry (the weight of words) that are most important. These shades and nuances of meaning can be difficult to interpret and can cause different readers to "hear" a particular piece of poetry differently. While there are reasonable interpretations, there can never be a definitive interpretation.

Nature of poetry

Poetry can be differentiated most of the time from prose, which is language meant to convey meaning in a more expansive and less condensed way, frequently using more complete logical or narrative structures than poetry does. This does not necessarily imply that poetry is illogical, but rather that poetry is often created from the need to escape the logical, as well as expressing feelings and other expressions in a tight, condensed manner. English Romantic poet John Keats termed this escape from logic Negative Capability. A further complication is that prose poetry combines the characteristics of poetry with the superficial appearance of prose, such as in Robert Frost's poem, "Home Burial." Other forms include narrative poetry and dramatic poetry, both of which are used to tell stories and so resemble novels and plays. However, both these forms of poetry use the specific features of verse composition to make these stories more memorable or to enhance them in some way.

What is generally accepted as "great" poetry is debatable in many cases. "Great" poetry usually follows the characteristics listed above, but it is also set apart by its complexity and sophistication. "Great" poetry generally captures images vividly and in an original, refreshing way, while weaving together an intricate combination of elements like theme tension, complex emotion, and profound reflective thought. For examples of what is considered "great" poetry, visit the Pulitzer prize and Nobel prize sections for poetry.

The Greek verb ποιεω [poiéo (= I make or create)], gave rise to three words:ποιητης [poiet?s (= the one who creates)], ποιησις [poíesis (= the act of creation)] and ποιημα [poíema (= the thing created)]. From these we get three English words: poet (the creator), poesy (the creation) and poem (the created). A poet is therefore one who creates and poetry is what the poet creates. The underlying concept of the poet as creator is not uncommon. For example, in Anglo-Saxon a poet is a scop (shaper or maker) and in Scots makar.

Sound in poetry

Perhaps the most vital element of sound in poetry is rhythm. Often the rhythm of each line is arranged in a particular meter. Different types of meter played key roles in Classical, Early European, Eastern and Modern poetry. In the case of free verse, the rhythm of lines is often organized into looser units of cadence.

Poetry in English and other modern European languages often uses rhyme. Rhyme at the end of lines is the basis of a number of common poetic forms, such as ballads, sonnets and rhyming couplets. However, the use of rhyme is not universal. Much modern poetry, for example, avoids traditional rhyme schemes. Furthermore, Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. In fact, rhyme did not enter European poetry at all until the High Middle Ages, when it was adopted from the Arabic language. The Arabs have always used rhymes extensively, most notably in their long, rhyming qasidas. Some classical poetry forms, such as Venpa of the Tamil language, had rigid grammars (to the point that they could be expressed as a context-free grammar), which ensured a rhythm.

Alliteration played a key role in structuring early Germanic and English forms of poetry (called alliterative verse), akin to the role of rhyme in later European poetry. The alliterative patterns of early Germanic poetry and the rhyme schemes of Modern European poetry alike both include meter as a key part of their structure, which determines when the listener expects instances of rhyme or alliteration to occur. In this sense, both alliteration and rhyme, when used in poetic structures, help to emphasise and define a rhythmic pattern. By contrast, the chief device of Biblical poetry in ancient Hebrew was parallelism, a rhetorical structure in which successive lines reflected each other in grammatical structure, sound structure, notional content, or all three; a verse form that lent itself to antiphonal or call- and-response performance.

In addition to the forms of rhyme, alliteration and rhythm that structure much poetry, sound plays a more subtle role in even free verse poetry in creating pleasing, varied patterns and emphasising or sometimes even illustrating semantic elements of the poem. Devices such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, dissonance and internal rhyme are among the ways poets use sound. Euphony refers to the musical, flowing quality of words arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Poetry and form

Compared with prose, poetry depends less on the linguistic units of sentences and paragraphs, and more on units of organisation that are purely poetic. The typical structural elements are the line, couplet, strophe, stanza, and verse paragraph.

Lines may be self-contained units of sense, as in the well-known lines from William Shakespeare's Hamlet:

To be, or not to be: that is the question.Alternatively a line may end in mid-phrase or sentence:Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to sufferthis linguistic unit is completed in the next line,The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.This technique is called enjambment, and is used to create a sense of expectation in the reader and/or to add a dynamic to the movement of the verse.


In many instances, the effectiveness of a poem derives from the tension between the use of linguistic and formal units. With the advent of printing, poets gained greater control over the visual presentation of their work. As a result, the use of these formal elements, and of the white space they help create, became an important part of the poet's toolbox. Modernist poetry tends to take this to an extreme, with the placement of individual lines or groups of lines on the page forming an integral part of the poem's composition. In its most extreme form, this leads to the writing of concrete poetry.

Poetry and rhetoric

Rhetorical devices such as simile and metaphor are frequently used in poetry. Indeed, Aristotle wrote in his Poetics that "the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor". However, particularly since the rise of Modernism, some poets have opted for reduced use of these devices, preferring rather to attempt the direct presentation of things and experiences. Other 20th-century poets, however, particularly the surrealists, have pushed rhetorical devices to their limits, making frequent use of catachresis.

History of poetry

Poetry as an art form predates literacy. In preliterate societies, poetry was frequently employed as a means of recording oral history, storytelling (epic poetry), genealogy, law and other forms of expression or knowledge that modern societies might expect to be handled in prose. The Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic which includes poetry, was probably written in the 3rd century BCE in a language described by William Jones as "more perfect than Latin, more copious than Greek and more exquisitely refined than either." Poetry is also often closely identified with liturgy in these societies, as the formal nature of poetry makes it easier to remember priestly incantations or prophecies. The greater part of the world's sacred scriptures are made up of poetry rather than prose.

The use of verse to transmit cultural information continues today. Many English speaking–Americans know that "in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue". An alphabet song teaches the names and order of the letters of the alphabet; another jingle states the lengths and names of the months in the Gregorian calendar. Preliterate societies, lacking the means to write down important cultural information, use similar methods to preserve it.

Some writers believe that poetry has its origins in song. Most of the characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of utterance—rhythm, rhyme, compression, intensity of feeling, the use of refrains—appear to have come about from efforts to fit words to musical forms. However, in the European tradition the earliest surviving poems, the Homeric and Hesiodic epics, identify themselves as poems to be recited or chanted to a musical accompaniment rather than as pure song. Another interpretation, developed from 20th-century studies of living Montenegran epic reciters by Milman Parry and others, is that rhythm, refrains, and kennings are essentially paratactic devices that enable the reciter to reconstruct the poem from memory.

In preliterate societies, all these forms of poetry were composed for, and sometimes during, performance. As such, there was a certain degree of fluidity to the exact wording of poems, given this could change from one performance or performer to another. The introduction of writing tended to fix the content of a poem to the version that happened to be written down and survive. Written composition also meant that poets began to compose not for an audience that was sitting in front of them but for an absent reader. Later, the invention of printing tended to accelerate these trends. Poets were now writing more for the eye than for the ear.

The development of literacy gave rise to more personal, shorter poems intended to be sung. These are called lyrics, which derives from the Greek lura or lyre, the instrument that was used to accompany the performance of Greek lyrics from about the seventh century BCE onward. The Greek's practice of singing hymns in large choruses gave rise in the sixth century BCE to dramatic verse, and to the practice of writing poetic plays for performance in their theatres.

In more recent times, the introduction of electronic media and the rise of the poetry reading have led to a resurgence of performance poetry and have resulted in a situation where poetry for the eye and poetry for the ear coexist, sometimes in the same poem. The late 20th-century rise of the singer-songwriter and Rap culture and the increase in popularity of Slam poetry have led to a renewed debate as to the nature of poetry that can be crudely characterised as a split between the academic and popular views. As of 2005, this debate is ongoing with no immediate prospect of a resolution.

definition of soliloquy

: a long, usually serious speech that a character in a play makes to an audience and that reveals the character's thoughts

But if it is hard for the theatergoer to catch all the meanings in Macbeth's rippling soliloquies, then how much harder is that task when Shakespeare seems unable or unwilling to unpack his obscurities

definition of sonnet

The word sonnet is derived from the Italian word “sonetto”. It means a small or little song or lyric. In poetry, a sonnet has 14 fourteen lines and is written in iambic pentameter. Each line has 10 syllables. It has a specific rhyme scheme and a “volta” or a specific turn.

Generally, sonnets are divided into different groups based on the rhyme scheme they follow. The rhymes of a sonnet are arranged according to a certain rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme in English is usually abab-cdcd-efef-gg and in Italian abba-abba-cde-cde.


The sonnets can be categorized into six major types:

  • Italian Sonnet
  • Shakespearean Sonnet
  • Spenserian Sonnet
  • Miltonic Sonnet
  • Terza Rima Sonnet
  • Curtal Sonnet

forms and structures of poetry



STRUCTURE and POETRY

An important method of analyzing a poem is to look at the stanza structure or style of a poem. Generally speaking, structure has to do with the overall organization of lines and/or the conventional patterns of sound. Again, many modern poems may not have any identifiable structure (i.e. they are free verse), so don't panic if you can't find it!


STANZAS: Stanzas are a series of lines grouped together and separated by an empty line from other stanzas. They are the equivalent of a paragraph in an essay. One way to identify a stanza is to count the number of lines. Thus:

  • couplet (2 lines)
  • tercet (3 lines)
  • quatrain (4 lines)
  • cinquain (5 lines)
  • sestet (6 lines) (sometimes it's called a sexain)
  • septet (7 lines)
  • octave (8 lines)


FORM
: A poem may or may not have a specific number of lines, rhyme scheme and/or metrical pattern, but it can still be labeled according to its form or style. Here are the three most common types of poems according to form:

1. Lyric Poetry: It is any poem with one speaker (not necessarily the poet) who expresses strong thoughts and feelings. Most poems, especially modern ones, are lyric poems.


2. Narrative Poem: It is a poem that tells a story; its structure resembles the plot line of a story [i.e. the introduction of conflict and characters, rising action, climax and the denouement].


3. Descriptive Poem: It is a poem that describes the world that surrounds the speaker. It uses elaborate imagery and adjectives. While emotional, it is more "outward-focused" than lyric poetry, which is more personal and introspective.

In a sense, almost all poems, whether they have consistent patterns of sound and/or structure, or are free verse, are in one of the three categories above. Or, of course, they may be a combination of 2 or 3 of the above styles! Here are some more types of poems that are subtypes of the three styles above:

Ode: It is usually a lyric poem of moderate length, with a serious subject, an elevated style, and an elaborate stanza pattern.

Elegy: It is a lyric poem that mourns the dead. [It's not to be confused with a eulogy.]It has no set metric or stanzaic pattern, but it usually begins by reminiscing about the dead person, then laments the reason for the death, and then resolves the grief by concluding that death leads to immortality. It often uses "apostrophe" (calling out to the dead person) as a literary technique. It can have a fairly formal style, and sound similar to an ode.

Sonnet: It is a lyric poem consisting of 14 lines and, in the English version, is usually written in iambic pentameter. There are two basic kinds of sonnets: the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet and the Shakespearean (or Elizabethan/English) sonnet. The Italian/Petrarchan sonnet is named after Petrarch, an Italian Renaissance poet. The Petrarchan sonnet consists of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The Shakespearean sonnet consists of three quatrains (four lines each) and a concluding couplet (two lines). The Petrarchan sonnet tends to divide the thought into two parts (argument and conclusion); the Shakespearean, into four (the final couplet is the summary).

Ballad: It is a narrative poem that has a musical rhythm and can be sung. A ballad is usually organized into quatrains or cinquains, has a simple rhythm structure, and tells the tales of ordinary people.

Epic: It is a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero.

Qualities of an Epic Poem:

  • narrative poem of great scope; dealing with the founding of a nation or some other heroic theme requires a dignified theme requires an organic unity requires orderly progress of the action always has a heroic figure or figures involves supernatural forces
  • written in deliberately ceremonial style

Other types of poems include:

Haiku: It has an unrhymed verse form having three lines (a tercet) and usually 5,7,5 syllables, respectively. It's usually considered a lyric poem.

Limerick: It has a very structured poem, usually humorous & composed of five lines (a cinquain), in anaabba rhyming pattern; beat must be anapestic (weak, weak, strong) with 3 feet in lines 1, 2, & 5 and 2 feet in lines 3 & 4. It's usually a narrative poem based upon a short and often ribald anecdote

Facts about poetry

1. Poets write poems about themselves

2. Poets write poems about other people and dogs and death

3. Poets have low self esteem

4. Poets crave more self esteem.

5. Poets are afraid people will make fun of their poems

6. Poets enjoy being told their poems are good

7. Poets don’t tell other people they are poets

8. Poets enjoy telling other poets they are poets

9. Poets are more likely to self-publish than any other kind of writer

10. Self-published poetry has a better acceptance rate than other
self-published writing

11. Poets regard publication as vindication for the hours of anguish it takes
to write poems

why authors use different types of structures

Poetry (ancient Greek: ποιεω (poieo) = I create) is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. It consists largely of oral or literary works in which language is used in a manner that is felt by its user and audience to differ from ordinary prose.

It may use condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the reader's or listener's mind or ear; it may also use devices such as assonance and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Poems frequently rely for their effect on imagery, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. The interactive layering of all these effects to generate meaning is what marks poetry.

Because of its nature of emphasising linguistic form rather than using language purely for its content, poetry is notoriously difficult to translate from one language into another: a possible exception to this might be the Hebrew Psalms, where the beauty is found more in the balance of ideas than in specific vocabulary. In most poetry, it is the connotations and the "baggage" that words carry (the weight of words) that are most important. These shades and nuances of meaning can be difficult to interpret and can cause different readers to "hear" a particular piece of poetry differently. While there are reasonable interpretations, there can never be a definitive interpretation.

Nature of poetry

Poetry can be differentiated most of the time from prose, which is language meant to convey meaning in a more expansive and less condensed way, frequently using more complete logical or narrative structures than poetry does. This does not necessarily imply that poetry is illogical, but rather that poetry is often created from the need to escape the logical, as well as expressing feelings and other expressions in a tight, condensed manner. English Romantic poet John Keats termed this escape from logic Negative Capability. A further complication is that prose poetry combines the characteristics of poetry with the superficial appearance of prose, such as in Robert Frost's poem, "Home Burial." Other forms include narrative poetry and dramatic poetry, both of which are used to tell stories and so resemble novels and plays. However, both these forms of poetry use the specific features of verse composition to make these stories more memorable or to enhance them in some way.

What is generally accepted as "great" poetry is debatable in many cases. "Great" poetry usually follows the characteristics listed above, but it is also set apart by its complexity and sophistication. "Great" poetry generally captures images vividly and in an original, refreshing way, while weaving together an intricate combination of elements like theme tension, complex emotion, and profound reflective thought. For examples of what is considered "great" poetry, visit the Pulitzer prize and Nobel prize sections for poetry.

The Greek verb ποιεω [poiéo (= I make or create)], gave rise to three words:ποιητης [poiet?s (= the one who creates)], ποιησις [poíesis (= the act of creation)] and ποιημα [poíema (= the thing created)]. From these we get three English words: poet (the creator), poesy (the creation) and poem (the created). A poet is therefore one who creates and poetry is what the poet creates. The underlying concept of the poet as creator is not uncommon. For example, in Anglo-Saxon a poet is a scop (shaper or maker) and in Scots makar.

Sound in poetry

Perhaps the most vital element of sound in poetry is rhythm. Often the rhythm of each line is arranged in a particular meter. Different types of meter played key roles in Classical, Early European, Eastern and Modern poetry. In the case of free verse, the rhythm of lines is often organized into looser units of cadence.

Poetry in English and other modern European languages often uses rhyme. Rhyme at the end of lines is the basis of a number of common poetic forms, such as ballads, sonnets and rhyming couplets. However, the use of rhyme is not universal. Much modern poetry, for example, avoids traditional rhyme schemes. Furthermore, Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. In fact, rhyme did not enter European poetry at all until the High Middle Ages, when it was adopted from the Arabic language. The Arabs have always used rhymes extensively, most notably in their long, rhyming qasidas. Some classical poetry forms, such as Venpa of the Tamil language, had rigid grammars (to the point that they could be expressed as a context-free grammar), which ensured a rhythm.

Alliteration played a key role in structuring early Germanic and English forms of poetry (called alliterative verse), akin to the role of rhyme in later European poetry. The alliterative patterns of early Germanic poetry and the rhyme schemes of Modern European poetry alike both include meter as a key part of their structure, which determines when the listener expects instances of rhyme or alliteration to occur. In this sense, both alliteration and rhyme, when used in poetic structures, help to emphasise and define a rhythmic pattern. By contrast, the chief device of Biblical poetry in ancient Hebrew was parallelism, a rhetorical structure in which successive lines reflected each other in grammatical structure, sound structure, notional content, or all three; a verse form that lent itself to antiphonal or call- and-response performance.

In addition to the forms of rhyme, alliteration and rhythm that structure much poetry, sound plays a more subtle role in even free verse poetry in creating pleasing, varied patterns and emphasising or sometimes even illustrating semantic elements of the poem. Devices such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, dissonance and internal rhyme are among the ways poets use sound. Euphony refers to the musical, flowing quality of words arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Poetry and form

Compared with prose, poetry depends less on the linguistic units of sentences and paragraphs, and more on units of organisation that are purely poetic. The typical structural elements are the line, couplet, strophe, stanza, and verse paragraph.

Lines may be self-contained units of sense, as in the well-known lines from William Shakespeare's Hamlet:

To be, or not to be: that is the question.Alternatively a line may end in mid-phrase or sentence:Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to sufferthis linguistic unit is completed in the next line,The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.This technique is called enjambment, and is used to create a sense of expectation in the reader and/or to add a dynamic to the movement of the verse.


In many instances, the effectiveness of a poem derives from the tension between the use of linguistic and formal units. With the advent of printing, poets gained greater control over the visual presentation of their work. As a result, the use of these formal elements, and of the white space they help create, became an important part of the poet's toolbox. Modernist poetry tends to take this to an extreme, with the placement of individual lines or groups of lines on the page forming an integral part of the poem's composition. In its most extreme form, this leads to the writing of concrete poetry.

Poetry and rhetoric

Rhetorical devices such as simile and metaphor are frequently used in poetry. Indeed, Aristotle wrote in his Poetics that "the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor". However, particularly since the rise of Modernism, some poets have opted for reduced use of these devices, preferring rather to attempt the direct presentation of things and experiences. Other 20th-century poets, however, particularly the surrealists, have pushed rhetorical devices to their limits, making frequent use of catachresis.

History of poetry

Poetry as an art form predates literacy. In preliterate societies, poetry was frequently employed as a means of recording oral history, storytelling (epic poetry), genealogy, law and other forms of expression or knowledge that modern societies might expect to be handled in prose. The Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic which includes poetry, was probably written in the 3rd century BCE in a language described by William Jones as "more perfect than Latin, more copious than Greek and more exquisitely refined than either." Poetry is also often closely identified with liturgy in these societies, as the formal nature of poetry makes it easier to remember priestly incantations or prophecies. The greater part of the world's sacred scriptures are made up of poetry rather than prose.

The use of verse to transmit cultural information continues today. Many English speaking–Americans know that "in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue". An alphabet song teaches the names and order of the letters of the alphabet; another jingle states the lengths and names of the months in the Gregorian calendar. Preliterate societies, lacking the means to write down important cultural information, use similar methods to preserve it.

Some writers believe that poetry has its origins in song. Most of the characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of utterance—rhythm, rhyme, compression, intensity of feeling, the use of refrains—appear to have come about from efforts to fit words to musical forms. However, in the European tradition the earliest surviving poems, the Homeric and Hesiodic epics, identify themselves as poems to be recited or chanted to a musical accompaniment rather than as pure song. Another interpretation, developed from 20th-century studies of living Montenegran epic reciters by Milman Parry and others, is that rhythm, refrains, and kennings are essentially paratactic devices that enable the reciter to reconstruct the poem from memory.

In preliterate societies, all these forms of poetry were composed for, and sometimes during, performance. As such, there was a certain degree of fluidity to the exact wording of poems, given this could change from one performance or performer to another. The introduction of writing tended to fix the content of a poem to the version that happened to be written down and survive. Written composition also meant that poets began to compose not for an audience that was sitting in front of them but for an absent reader. Later, the invention of printing tended to accelerate these trends. Poets were now writing more for the eye than for the ear.

The development of literacy gave rise to more personal, shorter poems intended to be sung. These are called lyrics, which derives from the Greek lura or lyre, the instrument that was used to accompany the performance of Greek lyrics from about the seventh century BCE onward. The Greek's practice of singing hymns in large choruses gave rise in the sixth century BCE to dramatic verse, and to the practice of writing poetic plays for performance in their theatres.

In more recent times, the introduction of electronic media and the rise of the poetry reading have led to a resurgence of performance poetry and have resulted in a situation where poetry for the eye and poetry for the ear coexist, sometimes in the same poem. The late 20th-century rise of the singer-songwriter and Rap culture and the increase in popularity of Slam poetry have led to a renewed debate as to the nature of poetry that can be crudely characterised as a split between the academic and popular views. As of 2005, this debate is ongoing with no immediate prospect of a resolution.

why its important to have a specific form or structure


STRUCTURE and POETRY

An important method of analyzing a poem is to look at the stanza structure or style of a poem. Generally speaking, structure has to do with the overall organization of lines and/or the conventional patterns of sound. Again, many modern poems may not have any identifiable structure (i.e. they are free verse), so don't panic if you can't find it!


STANZAS: Stanzas are a series of lines grouped together and separated by an empty line from other stanzas. They are the equivalent of a paragraph in an essay. One way to identify a stanza is to count the number of lines. Thus:

  • couplet (2 lines)
  • tercet (3 lines)
  • quatrain (4 lines)
  • cinquain (5 lines)
  • sestet (6 lines) (sometimes it's called a sexain)
  • septet (7 lines)
  • octave (8 lines)


FORM
: A poem may or may not have a specific number of lines, rhyme scheme and/or metrical pattern, but it can still be labeled according to its form or style. Here are the three most common types of poems according to form:

1. Lyric Poetry: It is any poem with one speaker (not necessarily the poet) who expresses strong thoughts and feelings. Most poems, especially modern ones, are lyric poems.


2. Narrative Poem: It is a poem that tells a story; its structure resembles the plot line of a story [i.e. the introduction of conflict and characters, rising action, climax and the denouement].


3. Descriptive Poem: It is a poem that describes the world that surrounds the speaker. It uses elaborate imagery and adjectives. While emotional, it is more "outward-focused" than lyric poetry, which is more personal and introspective.

In a sense, almost all poems, whether they have consistent patterns of sound and/or structure, or are free verse, are in one of the three categories above. Or, of course, they may be a combination of 2 or 3 of the above styles! Here are some more types of poems that are subtypes of the three styles above:

Ode: It is usually a lyric poem of moderate length, with a serious subject, an elevated style, and an elaborate stanza pattern.

Elegy: It is a lyric poem that mourns the dead. [It's not to be confused with a eulogy.]It has no set metric or stanzaic pattern, but it usually begins by reminiscing about the dead person, then laments the reason for the death, and then resolves the grief by concluding that death leads to immortality. It often uses "apostrophe" (calling out to the dead person) as a literary technique. It can have a fairly formal style, and sound similar to an ode.

Sonnet: It is a lyric poem consisting of 14 lines and, in the English version, is usually written in iambic pentameter. There are two basic kinds of sonnets: the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet and the Shakespearean (or Elizabethan/English) sonnet. The Italian/Petrarchan sonnet is named after Petrarch, an Italian Renaissance poet. The Petrarchan sonnet consists of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The Shakespearean sonnet consists of three quatrains (four lines each) and a concluding couplet (two lines). The Petrarchan sonnet tends to divide the thought into two parts (argument and conclusion); the Shakespearean, into four (the final couplet is the summary).

Ballad: It is a narrative poem that has a musical rhythm and can be sung. A ballad is usually organized into quatrains or cinquains, has a simple rhythm structure, and tells the tales of ordinary people.

Epic: It is a long narrative poem in elevated style recounting the deeds of a legendary or historical hero.

Qualities of an Epic Poem:

  • narrative poem of great scope; dealing with the founding of a nation or some other heroic theme requires a dignified theme requires an organic unity requires orderly progress of the action always has a heroic figure or figures involves supernatural forces
  • written in deliberately ceremonial style

Other types of poems include:

Haiku: It has an unrhymed verse form having three lines (a tercet) and usually 5,7,5 syllables, respectively. It's usually considered a lyric poem.

Limerick: It has a very structured poem, usually humorous & composed of five lines (a cinquain), in anaabba rhyming pattern; beat must be anapestic (weak, weak, strong) with 3 feet in lines 1, 2, & 5 and 2 feet in lines 3 & 4. It's usually a narrative poem based upon a short and often ribald anecdote.

rhyme and repetition

Rhythm of a poem is how the words flow within each meter and stanza. Writers create rhythm by repeating words, phrases or even whole lines and sentences in a poem. Rhythm in poetry might mean that certain words are said more forcefully than others, or certain words are held longer. This produces a rhythmic effect which stresses specific parts of the poem. The word rhythm comes from the Greek, meaning "measured motion." The music you listen to on the radio isn’t that much different from the poetry of long ago. The music you listen to is written in lyrics, which is basically poetry written to music. Whether the words are from today or from long ago, we hear the rhythms and feel the emotions that are common to all human beings. One easy way to hear meter and rhythm is to read the poem out loud. Pretend you are performing a song much like your favorite music artist. Make sure there is a difference between stressed and unstressed syllables.

Repetition is a literary device that repeats the same words or phrases a few times to make an idea clearer. There are several types of repetitions commonly used in both prose and poetry. As a rhetorical device, it could be a word, a phrase or a full sentence or a poetical line repeated to emphasize its significance in the entire text. Repetition is not distinguished solely as a figure of speech but more as a rhetorical device.

verse and stanza

Free verse is a literary device that can be defined as poetry that is free from limitations of regular meter or rhythm and does not rhyme with fixed forms. Such poems are without rhythms and rhyme schemes; do not follow regular rhyme scheme rules and still provide artistic expression. In this way, the poet can give his own shape to a poem how he/she desires. However, it still allows poets to use alliteration, rhyme, cadences or rhythms to get the effects that they consider are suitable for the piece.

Perhaps the best way to understand stanzas is to first thoroughly understand the definition of a stanza. A stanza is a popular term within poetry that refers to a smaller unit within a poem or a verse within a song.


Stanzas in Poetry

If you are looking towards poetry to find stanza examples you need not look far.

  • Stanzas are available in even the first section of the poem.
  • They are usually grouped together by the rhyme pattern and/or number of lines that they have.

In any given song you have perhaps unknowingly sung stanzas several times. They are known as the verses. Look at the lyrics of your favorite song carefully and you will easily notice the stanzas.

Here is an example of a stanza in poetry. This original poem is purely for illustration.

Poetry

I understand that poetry means that it depends on how the authors feelings, moods, and ect. is because if you don't know what the authors trying to say you cant determine what the poems about if you dont know what the author is trying to tell you in that poem
More Than Rhyme: Poetry Fundamentals -- Introduction to Poetry (Student Video)