types of poetry

types of poetry

An Introduction to Poetry

Poetry has been a part of people’s lives since the days of yore. It is part of a cultural society that evolves along with its people, as the years go by. It is not only just a form of literature, but an important form of communication. With poetry, words are able to be given vivid descriptions of what you want to say, allowing you to free your thoughts – whether it involves suffering, the trials & tribulations of love, oppression or unbridled happiness.

Poetry is that one medium that allows you to let go & indulge in all passions, with reckless abandon. To some people, poetry is merely a means to an end – a career, some form of entertainment or a some simple hobby. But to others, there is great importance that poetry has played in their lives – such that poetry becomes a lifestyle to them. But what exactly is poetry and how does it affect people’s lives?

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What is Poetry?

Poetry is a literary work (or a written verse) that is characterized by words that convey the intensity or sincerity of the author’s emotions (be they elegantly beautiful or brutally raw), and this is done with the hopes of steering the listening audience to the author’s point of view. Poets view the world through a lens that enables them to colorfully re-present the seemingly banal & mundane, in such a profound way, that they can reshape the audience’s views of reality.

The audience will see the world through the eyes of the poet and see things in a particular way – digesting the familiar in a new way, that serves only to leave an emotional imprint on the collective psyche. While it may seem that writing poetry is as simple as a jumbling of words, this form of literature can actually be very technical. Rhymes, metre and sound symbolism are specific in some types of poetry, as well as being mindful of definitions that are exclusive to a particular dialect.

Used properly, these verbal tools help poets resonate with audiences – by creating the most aesthetic, rhythmic and meaningful combination of words.

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Elements, Forms and Genres of Poetry

Elements of poetry include:

  • Metre – The number of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry

  • Rhythm – Involves the timing, pitch accent and tone of the poem

  • Metrical Patterns – The different meters used in different genres and traditions

  • Rhyme, Assonance, Consonance and Alliteration – The ways in which repetitive patterns of sound are created in a poem

  • Rhyming Schemes – The set rhyme patterns used as structural element to that of specific to poetic forms

  • Form – Includes the lines, stanzas and the visual representation of the poem

  • Diction – Describes the manner in which the language of the poem is used

Apart from the different elements of poetry, there are also different forms of poetry that started since the ancient times. These forms of poetry include:

  • Sonnet – Standardized with 14 lines, set rhyme scheme and a logical structure. Two different forms of sonnets include Petrarchan sonnet and English or Shakespearean sonnet.

  • Ode – Poems of the ancient Greeks such as Horace with three parts, namely strophe, antistrophe and epode.

  • Haiku – Japanese popular poem, unrhymed but with set structure of 5-7-5 pattern.

  • Tanka – Another Japanese poem consisting of 5 sections with structure of 5-7-5-7-7 pattern

  • Shi – Classic Chinese type of poetry under which are variations including folk song styled, old styled and modern styled verses.

  • Ghazal – Common in Persian, Arabic, Bengali, Turkish, Urdu and Azerbaijan poetry consisting of 5 to 15 rhyming couplets

In addition to forms and elements of poetry, there are also different genres of poetry. Among the many genres and subgenres, the most common are:

  • Narrative Poetry – Poetry telling a story which can be subcategorized to epic poetry, etc.

  • Dramatic Poetry – Written in dramatic verse, meant to either be sung or spoken. Popular subgenres include Greek tragedy, Japanese Noh and Chinese Opera.

  • Satirical Poetry – Poetry notable for its satiric topics often used for political purposes.

  • Prose Poetry – Combination of both poetry and prose

Significance of Poetry in People’s Lives

The ability to write beautiful poems can be a natural gift or it can be a skill acquired through the years, namely, by people who had felt the brunt of the harsh realities of life. What makes poetry greatly important to people’s lives can be attributed to how human values are often the topic of a poem. Because of the way it can enlighten or discuss and celebrate human nature, poetry has become a great way of moral instruction – thus, freeing many from the evils of ignorance, and inspiring others to be better!

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Overall, people delight at how poets possess great insight and sensitivity to those in their surroundings. Their profound imaginations ‘paint a compelling picture’ for the audience, and captivate  their minds, by taking them along for the ride.