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Poetry (derived from the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
''
poiesis In philosophy, ''poiesis'' (from grc, ποίησις) is "the activity in which a person brings something into being that did not exist before." ''Poiesis'' is etymologically derived from the ancient Greek term ποιεῖν, which means "to make" ...
'', "making") is a form of
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to incl ...
that uses
aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines subjective and sensori-emotional va ...
and often
rhythm Rhythm (from Greek , ''rhythmos'', "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"—) generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions" . This general meaning of regular ...
ic qualities of
language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyphs to inscribe the original sound or gesture and ...
—such as
phonaesthetics Phonaesthetics (also spelled phonesthetics in North America) is the study of beauty and pleasantness associated with the sounds of certain words or parts of words. The term was first used in this sense, perhaps by J. R. R. Tolkien, during the mid-t ...
,
sound symbolism In linguistics, sound symbolism, phonesthesia or phonosemantics is the idea that vocal sounds or phonemes carry meaning in and of themselves. Origin In the 18th century, Mikhail Lomonosov propagated a theory that words containing certain sounds sh ...
, and
metre The metre (Commonwealth spelling) or meter (American spelling; see spelling differences) (from the French unit , from the Greek noun , "measure", and cognate with Sanskrit , meaning "measured") is the base unit of length in the Internation ...
—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the
prosaic Prose is a form of written (or spoken) language that usually exhibits a natural flow of speech and grammatical structure—an exception is the narrative device stream of consciousness. The word "prose" first appears in English in the 14th century ...
ostensible meaning. Poetry has a long
history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates t ...
– dating back to prehistoric times with hunting poetry in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
, and to panegyric and elegiac court poetry of the empires of the
Nile The Nile ( ar, النيل, an-Nīl, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin: Áman Dawū) is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. The longest river in Africa, it has historically been considered the longest river in the world, though this ...

Nile
,
Niger Niger or the Niger ( or ; ), officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso ...

Niger
, and
Volta River The Volta River is the main river system in the West African country of Ghana. It flows south into Ghana from Bobo-Dioulasso highlands of Burkina Faso. The main parts of the river are the Black Volta, the White Volta, and the Red Volta. In the no ...
valleys. Some of the earliest written poetry in Africa occurs among the
Pyramid Texts The Pyramid Texts are the oldest ancient Egyptian funerary texts, dating to the late Old Kingdom. They are the earliest known corpus of ancient Egyptian religious texts. Written in Old Egyptian, the pyramid texts were carved onto the subterranean ...
written during the 25th century BCE. The earliest surviving Western Asian epic poetry, the ''
Epic of Gilgamesh Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media ...
'', was written in Sumerian. Early poems in the
Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Arctic Ocean to th ...
n continent evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese ''Shijing''; or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had d ...
''
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit: ', "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the te ...
'', the
Zoroastrian Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is one of the world's oldest continuously practiced religions, based on the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as ''Zaraθuštra'' in Avestan or ''Zarthost'' in Modern Persian). Zoroastr ...
''
Gathas The Gathas ()"Gatha"
''Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year si ...
ic epics, the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down circ ...
'' and the ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc-gre, Ὀδύσσεια, , ) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still read by contemporary audiences. As with the ''Iliad'', the poem is ...
''. Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic schoo ...

Aristotle
's ''Poetics'', focused on the uses of
speech Speech is human vocal communication using language. Each language uses phonetic combinations of vowel and consonant sounds that form the sound of its words (that is, all English words sound different from all French words, even if they are the s ...
in
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to i ...
,
drama Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been con ...
,
song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition a ...
, and
comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television, radio, books, or any ...
. Later attempts concentrated on features such as
repetition Repetition may refer to: *Repetition (rhetorical device), repeating a word within a short space of words *Repetition (bodybuilding), a single cycle of lifting and lowering a weight in strength training *Working title for the 1985 slasher film ''Fr ...
,
verse form Poetry (derived from the Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place o ...
, and
rhyme A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, exactly the same sound) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for artistic effect in the fi ...
, and emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from more objectively-informative
prosaic Prose is a form of written (or spoken) language that usually exhibits a natural flow of speech and grammatical structure—an exception is the narrative device stream of consciousness. The word "prose" first appears in English in the 14th century ...
writing. Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretations of words, or to evoke
emotive ''Emotive'' (stylized as ''eMOTIVe'') is the third studio album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. The album is primarily a collection of anti-war cover songs. It was released on November 2, 2004 via Virgin Records to coincide with the US pres ...
responses. Devices such as
assonance Assonance is a resemblance in the sounds of words/syllables either between their vowels (e.g., ''meat, bean'') or between their consonants (e.g., ''keep, cape''). However, assonance between consonants is generally called ''consonance'' in American u ...
,
alliteration In literature, alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, allitera ...
,
onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is the process of creating a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. Such a word itself is also called an onomatopoeia. Common onomatopoeias include animal noises such as "oink", "meow" ...

onomatopoeia
, and
rhythm Rhythm (from Greek , ''rhythmos'', "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"—) generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions" . This general meaning of regular ...
may convey
music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common e ...
al or incantatory effects. The use of
ambiguity Ambiguity is a type of meaning in which a phrase, statement or resolution is not explicitly defined, making several interpretations plausible. A common aspect of ambiguity is uncertainty. It is thus an attribute of any idea or statement whose ...
,
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concep ...
ism,
irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what on the surface appears to be the case or to be expected differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony can be categorized into differe ...

irony
, and other stylistic elements of
poetic dictionPoetic diction is the term used to refer to the linguistic style, the vocabulary, and the metaphors used in the writing of poetry. In the Western tradition, all these elements were thought of as properly different in poetry and prose up to the time o ...
often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly, figures of speech such as
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities between two different ideas. Metaphors are often compared with ...
,
simile A simile () is a figure of speech that directly ''compares'' two things. Similes differ from other metaphors by highlighting the similarities between two things using comparison words such as "like", "as", "so", or " than", while other metaphors cr ...
, and
metonymy Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology The words ''metonymy'' and ''metonym'' come from the Greek , , "a change of name", fro ...
establish a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm. Some poetry types are unique to particular
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.Tylor, Edward. (1871). ...
s and
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a category of literature, music, or other form ...

genre
s and respond to characteristics of the language in which the
poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience. 200px, Postmortal fictional portrait of Slovak poe ...
writes. Readers accustomed to identifying poetry with
Dante Dante Alighieri (), probably baptized Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri and often referred to simply as Dante (, also ; – 1321), was an Italian poet, writer and philosopher. His ''Divine Comedy'', originally called (modern Italian: ''Comm ...
,
Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist. His works include: four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dra ...
,
Mickiewicz Adam Bernard Mickiewicz (; 24 December 179826 November 1855) was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator and political activist. He is regarded as national poet in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. A principal figure in Polish Rom ...

Mickiewicz
, or
Rumi Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī ( fa, جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhī (), Mevlânâ/Mowlānā (, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (, "my master"), and more popularly simply as Rumi (30 Se ...
may think of it as written in
lines Line, lines, The Line, or LINE may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Lines'' (film), a 2016 Greek film * ''The Line'' (2017 film) * ''The Line'' (2009 film) * ''The Line'', a 2009 independent film by Nancy Schwartzman Literatu ...
based on
rhyme A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, exactly the same sound) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for artistic effect in the fi ...
and regular
meter The metre (Commonwealth spelling) or meter (American spelling; see spelling differences) (from the French unit , from the Greek noun , "measure", and cognate with Sanskrit , meaning "measured") is the base unit of length in the Internation ...
. There are, however, traditions, such as
Biblical poetry The ancient Hebrews identified poetical portions in their sacred texts, as shown by their entitling as "songs" or as "chants" passages such as Exodus 15:1-19 and Numbers 21:17-20; a song or chant () is, according to the primary meaning of the term, ...
, that use other means to create rhythm and
euphony Phonaesthetics (also spelled phonesthetics in North America) is the study of beauty and pleasantness associated with the sounds of certain words or parts of words. The term was first used in this sense, perhaps by J. R. R. Tolkien, during the mid-t ...
. Much modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, testing the principle of euphony itself or altogether forgoing rhyme or set rhythm. In an increasingly
globalized Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. Globalization has accelerated since the 18th century due to adva ...
world, poets often adapt forms, styles, and techniques from diverse cultures and languages. Poets have contributed to the evolution of the linguistic, expressive, and utilitarian qualities of their languages. A Western cultural tradition (extending at least from
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year si ...
to
Rilke René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), better known as Rainer Maria Rilke (), was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. He is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-langua ...
) associates the production of poetry with inspiration – often by a
Muse In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Muses ( grc, Μοῦσαι, Moûsai, el, Μούσες, Múses) are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, ...
(either classical or contemporary).


History


Early works

The philosopher ancient_music_theory..html" ;"title="usic_theory#China.html" ;"title="Confucius was influential in the developed approach to poetry and Music theory#China">ancient music theory.">usic_theory#China.html" ;"title="Confucius was influential in the developed approach to poetry and Music theory#China">ancient music theory. Some scholars believe that the art of poetry may predate literacy. Others, however, suggest that poetry did not necessarily predate writing. The oldest surviving epic poetry, epic poem, the ''
Epic of Gilgamesh Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media ...
'', dates from the 3rd millenniumBCE in
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian '; Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Li ...
(in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a historical region of Western Asia situated withi ...
, present-day
Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to th ...
), and was written in
cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo-syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped ...
script on clay tablets and, later, on
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a doc ...

papyrus
. The Istanbul tablet #2461, dating to 2000BCE, describes an annual rite in which the king symbolically married and mated with the goddess
Inanna Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power. She was originally worshiped in Aratta and Sumer under the name "Inanna", and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, an ...
to ensure fertility and prosperity; some have labelled it the world's oldest love poem. An example of Egyptian epic poetry is ''The Story of Sinuhe'' (c. 1800 BCE). Other ancient
epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to th ...
includes the
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
epics, the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down circ ...
'' and the ''Odyssey''; the
Avestan Avestan , also known historically as Zend, comprises two languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium BCE). The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian s ...
books, the ''Gathic Avesta'' and the ''
Yasna Yasna (;"Yasna"
'' Roman
national epic Karelian poem singing brothers Poavila and Triihvo Jamanen reciting traditional Finnish folk poetry, Russia, 1894. A national epic is an epic poem or a literary work of epic scope which seeks or is believed to capture and express the essence or s ...
,
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 70 BC21 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the ' ...
's ''
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is ) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in ...
'' (written between 29 and 19 BCE); and the
Indian epics Indian epic poetry is the epic poetry written in the Indian subcontinent, traditionally called ''Kavya'' (or ''Kāvya''; Sanskrit: काव्य, IAST: ''kāvyá''). The ''Ramayana'' and the ''Mahabharata'', which were originally composed in S ...
, the ''
Ramayana ''Rāmāyana'' (; sa, रामायणम्, ) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient Indian history, the other being the ''Mahābhārata''. Along with the ''Mahābhārata'', it forms the Hindu Itihasa. The epic, traditionally a ...
'' and the ''
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (, ; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the ''Rāmāyaṇa''. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and ...
''. Epic poetry, including the ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc-gre, Ὀδύσσεια, , ) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still read by contemporary audiences. As with the ''Iliad'', the poem is ...
'', the ''
Gathas The Gathas ()"Gatha"
''Indian ''
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit: ', "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the te ...
'', appears to have been composed in poetic form as an aid to memorization and oral transmission in ancient societies. Other forms of poetry developed directly from
folk song Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted ...
s. The earliest entries in the oldest extant collection of
Chinese poetry Chinese poetry is poetry written, spoken, or chanted in the Chinese language. While this last term comprises Classical Chinese, Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, and other historical and vernacular forms of the language, its poetry ...
, the ''Shijing'', were initially
lyrics Lyrics are words that make up a song, usually consisting of verses and choruses. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist. The words to an extended musical composition such as an opera are, however, usually known as a "libretto" and their writer, as a ...
. The Shijing, with its collection of poems and folk songs, was heavily valued by the philosopher
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who was traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Widely considered one of the most important and inf ...
and is considered to be one of the official
Confucian classics Chinese classic texts or canonical texts () or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated before the imperial unification by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, particularly the "Four Books and Five Classics" of the Neo-Confucian t ...
. His remarks on the subject have become an invaluable source in ancient music theory. The efforts of ancient thinkers to determine what makes poetry distinctive as a form, and what distinguishes good poetry from bad, resulted in "
poetics Poetics is the theory of literary forms and literary discourse. History The term ''poetics'' derives from the Ancient Greek ποιητικός ''poietikos'' "pertaining to poetry"; also "creative" and "productive". In the Western world, the develo ...
"—the study of the aesthetics of poetry. Some ancient societies, such as China's through her ''Shijing'' (''Classic of Poetry''), developed canons of poetic works that had ritual as well as aesthetic importance. More recently, thinkers have struggled to find a definition that could encompass formal differences as great as those between Chaucer's and
Matsuo Bashō , born , then , was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative ''haikai no renga'' form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest m ...
's ''
Oku no Hosomichi ''Oku no Hosomichi'' (, originally , meaning "Narrow road to/of the interior"), translated alternately as ''The Narrow Road to the Deep North'' and ''The Narrow Road to the Interior'', is a major work of ''haibun'' by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bas ...
'', as well as differences in content spanning
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel and Ezra ...
religious poetry, love poetry, and rap.


Western traditions

Classical thinkers in the
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from east, and is the direction in which the sun sets. Etymology The word "west" is a Germanic ...
employed classification as a way to define and assess the quality of poetry. Notably, the existing fragments of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic schoo ...

Aristotle
's ''Poetics'' describe three genres of poetry—the epic, the comic, and the tragic—and develop rules to distinguish the highest-quality poetry in each genre, based on the perceived underlying purposes of the genre. Later aestheticians identified three major genres: epic poetry,
lyric poetry Lyric poetry is a formal type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. It is not equivalent to song lyrics, though they are often in the lyric mode. The term derives from a form of Ancient Gre ...
, and
dramatic poetry Verse drama is any drama written significantly in verse (that is: with line endings) to be performed by an actor before an audience. Although verse drama does not need to be ''primarily'' in verse to be considered verse drama, significant portions ...
, treating
comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television, radio, books, or any ...
and
tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a form of drama based on human suffering and, mainly, the terrible or sorrowful events that befall a main character. Traditionally, the intention of tragedy is to ...
as
subgenres Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a category of literature, music, or other form ...

subgenres
of dramatic poetry. Aristotle's work was influential throughout the Middle East during the
Islamic Golden Age The Islamic Golden Age ( ar, العصر الذهبي للإسلام , al-'asr al-dhahabi lil-islam), was a period of cultural, economic, and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 14th centu ...
, as well as in Europe during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries. It occurred after the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages an ...
. Later poets and aestheticians often distinguished poetry from, and defined it in opposition to
prose Prose is a form of written (or spoken) language that usually exhibits a natural flow of speech and grammatical structure—an exception is the narrative device stream of consciousness. The word "prose" first appears in English in the 14th century ...
, which they generally understood as writing with a proclivity to logical explication and a linear narrative structure. This does not imply that poetry is illogical or lacks narration, but rather that poetry is an attempt to render the beautiful or sublime without the burden of engaging the logical or narrative thought-process. English Romantic poet
John Keats John Keats (; 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was prominent in the second generation of Romantic poets, with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, though his poems were in publication for only four years befo ...

John Keats
termed this escape from logic "
negative capability Negative capability is a phrase first used by Romantic poet John Keats in 1817 to explain the capacity of the greatest writers (particularly Shakespeare) to pursue a vision of artistic beauty even when it leads them into intellectual confusion and ...
". This "romantic" approach views
form Form is the shape, visual appearance, or configuration of an object. In a wider sense, the form is the way something happens. Form also refers to: *Form (document), a document (printed or electronic) with spaces in which to write or enter data *F ...
as a key element of successful poetry because form is abstract and distinct from the underlying notional logic. This approach remained influential into the 20th century. During the 18th and 19th centuries,there was also substantially more interaction among the various poetic traditions, in part due to the spread of European
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose their religion, ...
and the attendant rise in global trade. In addition to a boom in
translation Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminological distinction (which does not exist in every language) between ''translating' ...
, during the Romantic period numerous ancient works were rediscovered.


20th-century and 21st-century disputes

Some 20th-century
literary theorists Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to incl ...
rely less on the ostensible opposition of prose and poetry, instead focusing on the poet as simply one who creates using language, and poetry as what the poet creates. The underlying concept of the poet as creator is not uncommon, and some
modernist poets This is a list of major poets of the Modernist movement. English-language Modernist poets *Marion Angus *W. H. Auden *Djuna Barnes *Elizabeth Bishop *Rupert Brooke *Basil Bunting *Hart Crane *E. E. Cummings *H.D. *T. S. Eliot *Robert Frost *Ro ...
essentially do not distinguish between the creation of a poem with words, and creative acts in other media. Yet other modernists challenge the very attempt to define poetry as misguided. The rejection of traditional forms and structures for poetry that began in the first half of the 20th century coincided with a questioning of the purpose and meaning of traditional definitions of poetry and of distinctions between poetry and prose, particularly given examples of poetic prose and prosaic poetry. Numerous modernist poets have written in non-traditional forms or in what traditionally would have been considered prose, although their writing was generally infused with poetic diction and often with rhythm and
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness or brightness (as well as darkness) of a colour * Toning (coin), colour change in coins * Photographic print toning, a process tha ...
established by non-metrical means. While there was a substantial formalist reaction within the modernist schools to the breakdown of structure, this reaction focused as much on the development of new formal structures and syntheses as on the revival of older forms and structures.
Postmodernism Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. The term has been more generally applied to describe a historical er ...
goes beyond modernism's emphasis on the creative role of the poet, to emphasize the role of the reader of a text (
hermeneutics Hermeneutics () is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts. Hermeneutics is more than interpretative principles or methods used when immediate comp ...
), and to highlight the complex cultural web within which a poem is read. Today, throughout the world, poetry often incorporates poetic form and diction from other cultures and from the past, further confounding attempts at definition and classification that once made sense within a tradition such as the
Western canon The Western canon is the body of high culture literature, music, philosophy, and works of art that is highly valued in the West: works that have achieved the status of classics. However, not all these works originate in the Western world, and su ...
. The early 21st-century poetic tradition appears to continue to strongly orient itself to earlier precursor poetic traditions such as those initiated by Whitman, Emerson, and
Wordsworth William Wordsworth (7 April 177023 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication ''Lyrical Ballads'' (1798). Wordsworth's ''ma ...

Wordsworth
. The literary critic Geoffrey Hartman (1929–2016) used the phrase "the anxiety of demand" to describe the contemporary response to older poetic traditions as "being fearful that the fact no longer has a form", building on a trope introduced by Emerson. Emerson had maintained that in the debate concerning poetic structure where either "form" or "fact" could predominate, that one need simply "Ask the fact for the form." This has been challenged at various levels by other literary scholars such as Bloom (1930–2019), who has stated: "The generation of poets who stand together now, mature and ready to write the major American verse of the twenty-first century, may yet be seen as what Stevens called 'a great shadow's last embellishment,' the shadow being Emerson's."


Elements


Prosody

Prosody is the study of the meter,
rhythm Rhythm (from Greek , ''rhythmos'', "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"—) generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions" . This general meaning of regular ...
, and intonation of a poem. Rhythm and meter are different, although closely related. Meter is the definitive pattern established for a verse (such as
iambic pentameter Iambic pentameter () is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" ...
), while rhythm is the actual sound that results from a line of poetry. Prosody also may be used more specifically to refer to the scanning of poetic lines to show meter.


Rhythm

The methods for creating poetic rhythm vary across languages and between poetic traditions. Languages are often described as having timing set primarily by accents,
syllables A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants). Syllables are often considered the phonologic ...
, or moras, depending on how rhythm is established, though a language can be influenced by multiple approaches.
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan, an island country in East Asia * Japanese language, spoken mainly in Japan * Japanese people, the ethnic group that identifies with Japan through culture or ancestry ** Japanese diaspora ...

Japanese
is a mora-timed language.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language ...
,
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * Ca ...
,
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France ** French language, a French language which originated in France, and its various dialects ** French people, a nation and ethnic group identified with Fr ...
, Leonese,
GalicianGalician may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Galicia (Spain) ** Galician language ** Galician people ** Gallaeci, a large Celtic tribal federation who inhabited Gallaecia (currently Galicia (Spain) * Something of, from, or related to ...
and
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...
are called syllable-timed languages. Stress-timed languages include
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national identity, an identity and ...

English
,
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...

Russian
and, generally,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language * Germanic peoples * Ger ...
. Varying intonation also affects how rhythm is perceived. Languages can rely on either pitch or tone. Some languages with a pitch accent are Vedic Sanskrit or Ancient Greek.
Tonal language Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning – that is, to distinguish or to inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information and to convey emphasis, ...
s include Chinese, Vietnamese and most Subsaharan languages. Metrical rhythm generally involves precise arrangements of stresses or syllables into repeated patterns called
feet The foot (plural: feet) is an anatomical structure found in many vertebrates. It is the terminal portion of a limb which bears weight and allows locomotion. In many animals with feet, the foot is a separate organ at the terminal part of the leg m ...
within a line. In Modern English verse the pattern of stresses primarily differentiate feet, so rhythm based on meter in Modern English is most often founded on the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables (alone or elided). In the
classical languages A classical language is a language with an independent literary tradition and a large and ancient body of written literature. Classical languages are typically dead languages, or show a high degree of diglossia, as the spoken varieties of the lang ...
, on the other hand, while the metrical units are similar,
vowel length In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived length of a vowel sound: the corresponding physical measurement is duration. In some languages vowel length is an important phonemic factor, meaning vowel length can change the meaning of the word, fo ...
rather than stresses define the meter.
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th centur ...
poetry used a metrical pattern involving varied numbers of syllables but a fixed number of strong stresses in each line. The chief device of ancient
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the only Canaanite language still spoken and the only tru ...
Biblical poetry The ancient Hebrews identified poetical portions in their sacred texts, as shown by their entitling as "songs" or as "chants" passages such as Exodus 15:1-19 and Numbers 21:17-20; a song or chant () is, according to the primary meaning of the term, ...
, including many of the
psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), commonly referred to simply as Psalms, the Psalter or "the Psalms", is the first book of the ''Ketuvim'' ("Writings"), the third section of the Tanakh, and a book of the Chr ...

psalms
, was '' parallelism'', a rhetorical structure in which successive lines reflected each other in grammatical structure, sound structure, notional content, or all three. Parallelism lent itself to
antiphon An antiphon (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") is a short chant in Christian ritual, sung as a refrain. The texts of antiphons are the Psalms. Their form was favored by St Ambrose and they feature prominently in ...
al or
call-and-response Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements ("calls") are punctuated by responses from the listeners. This form is also used in music, where it falls under the general category of a ...
performance, which could also be reinforced by intonation. Thus, Biblical poetry relies much less on metrical feet to create rhythm, but instead creates rhythm based on much larger sound units of lines, phrases and sentences. Some classical poetry forms, such as
Venpa Venpa or Venba (''வெண்பா'' in Tamil) is a form of classical Tamil poetry. Classical Tamil poetry has been classified based upon the rules of metric prosody. Such rules form a context-free grammar. Every venba consists of between two and ...
of the
Tamil language Tamil (; ' , ) is a Dravidian language natively spoken by the Tamil people of South Asia. Tamil is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, as well as two sovereign nations, Singapore and Sri Lanka.Deccan._Rev:_Ujjain/Sā ...

Tamil language
, had rigid grammars (to the point that they could be expressed as a
context-free grammar In formal language theory, a context-free grammar (CFG) is a formal grammar whose production rules are of the form :A\ \to\ \alpha with A a ''single'' nonterminal symbol, and \alpha a string of terminals and/or nonterminals (\alpha can be empty). ...
) which ensured a rhythm. Classical Chinese poetics, based on the tone system of Middle Chinese, recognized two kinds of tones: the level (平 ''píng'') tone and the oblique (仄 ''zè'') tones, a category consisting of the rising (上 ''sháng'') tone, the departing (去 ''qù'') tone and the entering (入 ''rù'') tone. Certain forms of poetry placed constraints on which syllables were required to be level and which oblique. The formal patterns of meter used in Modern English verse to create rhythm no longer dominate contemporary English poetry. In the case of
free verse Free verse is an open form of poetry, which in its modern form arose through the French ''vers libre'' form. It does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern. It thus tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech. Definitio ...
, rhythm is often organized based on looser units of
cadence In Western musical theory, a cadence (Latin ''cadentia'', "a falling") is "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of resolution inality or pause.Don Michael Randel (1999). ''The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians'', ...
rather than a regular meter.
Robinson Jeffers John Robinson Jeffers (January 10, 1887 – January 20, 1962) was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. Much of Jeffers's poetry was written in narrative and epic form. However, he is also known for his shorter ...
,
Marianne Moore Marianne Craig Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was an American modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit. Early life Moore was born in Kirkwood, Mis ...
, and
William Carlos Williams William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) was a Puerto Rican-American poet, writer, and physician closely associated with modernism and imagism. In addition to his writing, Williams had a long career as a physician practicing ...
are three notable poets who reject the idea that regular accentual meter is critical to English poetry. Jeffers experimented with
sprung rhythm Sprung rhythm is a poetic rhythm designed to imitate the rhythm of natural speech. It is constructed from feet in which the first syllable is stressed and may be followed by a variable number of unstressed syllables. The British poet Gerard Manley ...
as an alternative to accentual rhythm.


Meter

In the Western poetic tradition, meters are customarily grouped according to a characteristic
metrical foot The foot is the basic repeating rhythmic unit that forms part of a line of verse in most Indo-European traditions of poetry, including English accentual-syllabic verse and the quantitative meter of classical ancient Greek and Latin poetry. The uni ...
and the number of feet per line. The number of metrical feet in a line are described using Greek terminology:
tetrameterIn poetry, a tetrameter is a line of four metrical feet. The particular foot can vary, as follows: * ''Anapestic tetrameter:'' ** "And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea" (Lord Byron, "The Destruction of Sennacherib") ** "Twas the ni ...
for four feet and
hexameterHexameter is a metrical line of verses consisting of six feet (a "foot" here is the pulse, or major accent, of words in an English line of poetry; in Greek and Latin a "foot" is not an accent, but describes various combinations of syllables). It was ...
for six feet, for example. Thus, "
iambic pentameter Iambic pentameter () is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" ...
" is a meter comprising five feet per line, in which the predominant kind of foot is the "
iamb Iamb, iambus, or iambic may refer to: Meter and poetry Classical poetry and quantitative verse * Iamb (poetry) * Choliamb * Iambus (genre) Accentual-syllabic and syllabic verse * Iambic trimeter * Iambic trimeter#Accentual-syllabic iambic trimete ...
". This metric system originated in ancient
Greek poetry Greek literature dates back from the ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature of today. Ancient Greek literature was written in an Ancient Greek dialect, literature ranges from the oldest surviving written wo ...
, and was used by poets such as
Pindar Pindar (; grc-gre, Πίνδαρος , ; la, Pindarus; c. 518 – 438 BC) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, ...
and
Sappho Sappho (; el, Σαπφώ ''Sapphō'' ; Aeolic Greek ''Psápphō''; c. 630 – c. 570 BCE) was an Archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her lyric poetry, written to be sung while accompanied by a lyre. In ancient tim ...
, and by the great tragedians of
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 485 874 ...
. Similarly, "
dactylic hexameter Dactylic hexameter (also known as "heroic hexameter" and "the meter of epic") is a form of meter or rhythmic scheme in poetry. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin and was cons ...
", comprises six feet per line, of which the dominant kind of foot is the "
dactyl Dactyl may refer to: * Dactyl (mythology), a legendary being * Dactyl (poetry), a metrical unit of verse * Dactyl Foundation, an arts organization * Finger, a part of the hand * Dactylus, part of a decapod crustacean * "-dactyl", a suffix used in ...
". Dactylic hexameter was the traditional meter of Greek
epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to th ...
, the earliest extant examples of which are the works of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year si ...
and
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. He is generally regarded as the first written po ...
. Iambic pentameter and dactylic hexameter were later used by a number of poets, including
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and one of the world's greatest dramatists. He is often called England' ...
and
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", ''The Song of Hiawatha'', and ''Evangeline''. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's ...
, respectively. The most common metrical feet in English are: *
iamb Iamb, iambus, or iambic may refer to: Meter and poetry Classical poetry and quantitative verse * Iamb (poetry) * Choliamb * Iambus (genre) Accentual-syllabic and syllabic verse * Iambic trimeter * Iambic trimeter#Accentual-syllabic iambic trimete ...
– one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (e.g. des-cribe, in-clude, re-tract) *
trochee In poetic metre, a trochee (), choree (), or choreus, is a metrical foot consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one, in English, or a heavy syllable followed by a light one in Latin or Greek (also described as a long syllable f ...
one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (e.g. pic-ture, flow-er) *
dactyl Dactyl may refer to: * Dactyl (mythology), a legendary being * Dactyl (poetry), a metrical unit of verse * Dactyl Foundation, an arts organization * Finger, a part of the hand * Dactylus, part of a decapod crustacean * "-dactyl", a suffix used in ...
– one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables (e.g. an-no-tate, sim-i-lar) *
anapaest An anapaest (; also spelled anapæst or anapest, also called antidactylus) is a metrical foot used in formal poetry. In classical quantitative meters it consists of two short syllables followed by a long one; in accentual stress meters it consists ...
two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable (e.g. com-pre-hend) *
spondee {{Metrical feet A spondee (Latin: ''spondeus'') is a metrical foot consisting of two long syllables, as determined by syllable weight in classical meters, or two stressed syllables in modern meters. The word comes from the Greek σπονδή, ''sp ...
two stressed syllables together (e.g. heart-beat, four-teen) *
pyrrhic A pyrrhic (; el, πυρρίχιος ''pyrrichios'', from πυρρίχη ''pyrrichē'') is a metrical foot used in formal poetry. It consists of two unaccented, short syllables. It is also known as a dibrach. Poetic use in English Tennyson used p ...
two unstressed syllables together (rare, usually used to end dactylic hexameter) There are a wide range of names for other types of feet, right up to a
choriamb In Greek and Latin poetry, a choriamb is a metron (prosodic foot) consisting of four syllables in the pattern long-short-short-long (— ‿ ‿ —), that is, a trochee alternating with an iamb. Choriambs are one of the two basic metra that do not ...
, a four syllable metric foot with a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables and closing with a stressed syllable. The choriamb is derived from some ancient
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
and
Latin poetry The history of Latin poetry can be understood as the adaptation of Greek models. The verse comedies of Plautus, the earliest surviving examples of Latin literature, are estimated to have been composed around 205-184 BC. History Scholars conventio ...
. Languages which utilize
vowel length In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived length of a vowel sound: the corresponding physical measurement is duration. In some languages vowel length is an important phonemic factor, meaning vowel length can change the meaning of the word, fo ...
or intonation rather than or in addition to syllabic accents in determining meter, such as
Ottoman Turkish Ottoman Turkish ( ota, لِسَانِ عُثْمَانِى, , ; tr, Osmanlı Türkçesi) was the standardized register of the Turkish language used in the Ottoman Empire (14th to 20th centuries CE). It borrowed extensively, in all aspects, from A ...
or
Vedic upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit: ', "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the te ...
, often have concepts similar to the iamb and dactyl to describe common combinations of long and short sounds. Each of these types of feet has a certain "feel," whether alone or in combination with other feet. The iamb, for example, is the most natural form of rhythm in the English language, and generally produces a subtle but stable verse. Scanning meter can often show the basic or fundamental pattern underlying a verse, but does not show the varying degrees of
stress Stress may refer to: Science and medicine * Stress (biology), an organism's response to a stressor such as an environmental condition * Stress (linguistics), relative emphasis or prominence given to a syllable in a word, or to a word in a phrase o ...
, as well as the differing pitches and
lengths Length is a measure of distance. In the International System of Quantities, length is a quantity with dimension distance. In most systems of measurement a base unit for length is chosen, from which all other units are derived. In the Internati ...
of syllables. There is debate over how useful a multiplicity of different "feet" is in describing meter. For example,
Robert Pinsky Robert Pinsky (born October 20, 1940) is an American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. From 1997 to 2000, he served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Pinsky is the author of nineteen books, most of wh ...
has argued that while dactyls are important in classical verse, English dactylic verse uses dactyls very irregularly and can be better described based on patterns of iambs and anapests, feet which he considers natural to the language. Actual rhythm is significantly more complex than the basic scanned meter described above, and many scholars have sought to develop systems that would scan such complexity.
Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov (russian: link=no, Владимир Владимирович Набоков ; 2 July 1977), also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin (), was a Russian-American novelist, poet, translator, and entomologist. Born in ...
noted that overlaid on top of the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of verse was a separate pattern of accents resulting from the natural pitch of the spoken words, and suggested that the term "scud" be used to distinguish an unaccented stress from an accented stress.


Metrical patterns

Different traditions and genres of poetry tend to use different meters, ranging from the Shakespearean
iambic pentameter Iambic pentameter () is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" ...
and the Homeric
dactylic hexameter Dactylic hexameter (also known as "heroic hexameter" and "the meter of epic") is a form of meter or rhythmic scheme in poetry. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin and was cons ...
to the
anapestic tetrameter Anapestic tetrameter is a poetic meter that has four anapestic metrical feet per line. Each foot has two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable. It is sometimes referred to as a "reverse dactyl", and shares the rapid, driving pace of ...
used in many nursery rhymes. However, a number of variations to the established meter are common, both to provide emphasis or attention to a given foot or line and to avoid boring repetition. For example, the stress in a foot may be inverted, a
caesura 100px, An example of a caesura in modern western music notation. A caesura (, . caesuras or caesurae; Latin for "cutting"), also written cæsura and cesura, is a metrical pause or break in a verse where one phrase ends and another phrase begins. It ...
(or pause) may be added (sometimes in place of a foot or stress), or the final foot in a line may be given a feminine ending to soften it or be replaced by a
spondee {{Metrical feet A spondee (Latin: ''spondeus'') is a metrical foot consisting of two long syllables, as determined by syllable weight in classical meters, or two stressed syllables in modern meters. The word comes from the Greek σπονδή, ''sp ...
to emphasize it and create a hard stop. Some patterns (such as iambic pentameter) tend to be fairly regular, while other patterns, such as dactylic hexameter, tend to be highly irregular. Regularity can vary between language. In addition, different patterns often develop distinctively in different languages, so that, for example,
iambic tetrameterIambic tetrameter is a meter in poetry. It refers to a line consisting of four iambic feet. The word "tetrameter" simply means that there are four feet in the line; ''iambic tetrameter'' is a line comprising four iambs. Some poetic forms rely upon ...
in Russian will generally reflect a regularity in the use of accents to reinforce the meter, which does not occur, or occurs to a much lesser extent, in English. Some common metrical patterns, with notable examples of poets and poems who use them, include: *
Iambic pentameter Iambic pentameter () is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" ...
(
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious shifts ...
, ''
Paradise Lost ''Paradise Lost'' is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). The first version, published in 1667, consists of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, ar ...

Paradise Lost
'';
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and one of the world's greatest dramatists. He is often called England' ...
, ''
Sonnets A sonnet is a poetic form which originated in the Italian poetry composed at the Court of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in Palermo, Sicily. The 13th-century poet and notary Giacomo da Lentini is credited with the sonnet's invention for expre ...
'') *
Dactylic hexameter Dactylic hexameter (also known as "heroic hexameter" and "the meter of epic") is a form of meter or rhythmic scheme in poetry. It is traditionally associated with the quantitative meter of classical epic poetry in both Greek and Latin and was cons ...
(Homer, ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down circ ...
'';
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 70 BC21 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the ' ...
, ''
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is ) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in ...
'') *
Iambic tetrameterIambic tetrameter is a meter in poetry. It refers to a line consisting of four iambic feet. The word "tetrameter" simply means that there are four feet in the line; ''iambic tetrameter'' is a line comprising four iambs. Some poetic forms rely upon ...
(
Andrew Marvell Andrew Marvell (; 31 March 1621 – 16 August 1678) was an English metaphysical poet, satirist and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678. During the Commonwealth period he was a colleague and friend of ...

Andrew Marvell
, " To His Coy Mistress";
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (; rus, links=no, Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкинIn Pushkin's day, his name was written ., r=Aleksándr Sergéyevich Púshkin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsandr sʲɪrˈɡʲe(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn, a=ru-Push ...
, ''
Eugene Onegin ''Eugene Onegin'' (pre-reform Russian: ; post-reform rus, Евгений Онегин, p=jɪvˈɡʲenʲɪj ɐˈnʲeɡʲɪn, r=Yevgeniy Onegin) is a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin. ''Onegin'' is considered a classic of Russian literatur ...
'';
Robert Frost Robert Lee Frost (March26, 1874January29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in the United States. Known for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloqui ...
, ''
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a poem by Robert Frost, written in 1922, and published in 1923 in his ''New Hampshire'' volume. Imagery, personification, and repetition are prominent in the work. In a letter to Louis Untermeyer, Frost ...
'') * Trochaic octameter (
Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (; born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is w ...
, "
The Raven "The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a ...
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Trochaic tetrameter Trochaic tetrameter is a meter in poetry. It refers to a line of four trochaic feet. The word "tetrameter" simply means that the poem has four trochees. A trochee is a long syllable, or stressed syllable, followed by a short, or unstressed, one. S ...
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", ''The Song of Hiawatha'', and ''Evangeline''. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's ...
, ''
The Song of Hiawatha ''The Song of Hiawatha'' is an 1855 epic poem in trochaic tetrameter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which features Native American characters. The epic relates the fictional adventures of an Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha and the tragedy of his lo ...
''; the Finnish national epic, ''
The Kalevala The ''Kalevala'' ( fi, Kalevala, ) is a 19th-century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology, telling an epic story about the Creation of the Earth, describing the controversies and reta ...
'', is also in trochaic tetrameter, the natural rhythm of Finnish and Estonian) * (
Jean Racine Jean Racine ( , ), baptized Jean-Baptiste Racine (; 22 December 163921 April 1699), was a French dramatist, one of the three great playwrights of 17th-century France, along with Molière and Corneille, and an important literary figure in the ...

Jean Racine
, ''
Phèdre ''Phèdre'' (; originally ''Phèdre et Hippolyte'') is a French dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677 at the theatre of the Hôtel de Bourgogne in Paris. Composition and premiere With '' ...
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Rhyme, alliteration, assonance

Rhyme, alliteration, assonance and
consonance In music, consonance and dissonance are categorizations of simultaneous or successive sounds. Within the Western tradition, some listeners associate consonance with sweetness, pleasantness, and acceptability, and dissonance with harshness, unp ...
are ways of creating repetitive patterns of sound. They may be used as an independent structural element in a poem, to reinforce rhythmic patterns, or as an ornamental element. They can also carry a meaning separate from the repetitive sound patterns created. For example,
Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (; – 25 October 1400) was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages, he is best known for ''The Canterbury Tales''. He has been called the "father of English literature", o ...
used heavy alliteration to mock Old English verse and to paint a character as archaic. Rhyme consists of identical ("hard-rhyme") or similar ("soft-rhyme") sounds placed at the ends of lines or at predictable locations within lines ("
internal rhymeIn poetry, internal rhyme, or middle rhyme, is rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse, or between internal phrases across multiple lines. By contrast, rhyme between line endings is known as end rhyme. Examples Percy Dearmer (1867–1936) ...
"). Languages vary in the richness of their rhyming structures; Italian, for example, has a rich rhyming structure permitting maintenance 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. The degree of richness of a language's rhyming structures plays a substantial role in determining what poetic forms are commonly used in that language. Alliteration is the repetition of letters or letter-sounds at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals; or the recurrence of the same letter in accented parts of words. Alliteration and assonance played a key role in structuring early Germanic, Norse and Old English forms of poetry. The alliterative patterns of early Germanic poetry interweave meter and alliteration as a key part of their structure, so that the metrical pattern determines when the listener expects instances of alliteration to occur. This can be compared to an ornamental use of alliteration in most Modern European poetry, where alliterative patterns are not formal or carried through full stanzas. Alliteration is particularly useful in languages with less rich rhyming structures. Assonance, where the use of similar vowel sounds within a word rather than similar sounds at the beginning or end of a word, was widely used in
skald , in chains, composing poetry after he was captured by King Óláfr Haraldsson (illustration by Christian Krohg for an 1899 edition of ''Heimskringla'') A Skald, or skáld (Old Norse: , later ; , meaning "poet"), is one of the often named poets wh ...
ic poetry but goes back to the Homeric epic. Because verbs carry much of the pitch in the English language, assonance can loosely evoke the tonal elements of Chinese poetry and so is useful in translating Chinese poetry. Consonance occurs where a consonant sound is repeated throughout a sentence without putting the sound only at the front of a word. Consonance provokes a more subtle effect than alliteration and so is less useful as a structural element.


Rhyming schemes

In many languages, including modern European languages and Arabic, poets use rhyme in set patterns as a structural element for specific poetic forms, such as
ballad A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French ''chanson balladée'' or ''ballade'', which were originally "dance songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and so ...
s,
sonnet A sonnet is a poetic form which originated in the Italian poetry composed at the Court of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in Palermo, Sicily. The 13th-century poet and notary Giacomo da Lentini is credited with the sonnet's invention for expre ...
s and rhyming couplets. However, the use of structural rhyme is not universal even within the European tradition. Much modern poetry avoids traditional
rhyme schemeRhyming scheme is the pattern of rhymes at the end of each line of a poem or song. It is usually referred to by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme; lines designated with the same letter all rhyme with each other. An example of the ABAB rhy ...
s. Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. Rhyme entered European poetry in the
High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and were followed by the Late Middle Ages, which ended around A ...
, in part under the influence of the
Arabic language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C. E.Wats ...

Arabic language
in
Al Andalus#REDIRECT Al-Andalus {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
(modern Spain). Arabic language poets used rhyme extensively from the first development of literary Arabic in the
sixth century The 6th century is the period from 501 (DI) through 600 (DC) in line with the Julian calendar. In the West, the century marks the end of Classical Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The collapse of the Western Roman Empire late in the ...
, as in their long, rhyming
qasida The qaṣīda (also spelled ''qaṣīdah''; is originally an Arabic word , plural ''qaṣā'id'', ; that was passed to some other languages such as fa, قصیده or چكامه, ''chakameh'', and tr, kaside) is an ancient Arabic word and form of w ...
s. Some rhyming schemes have become associated with a specific language, culture or period, while other rhyming schemes have achieved use across languages, cultures or time periods. Some forms of poetry carry a consistent and well-defined rhyming scheme, such as the
chant royal#REDIRECT Chant royal ...
or the rubaiyat, while other poetic forms have variable rhyme schemes. Most rhyme schemes are described using letters that correspond to sets of rhymes, so if the first, second and fourth lines of a quatrain rhyme with each other and the third line do not rhyme, the quatrain is said to have an "aa-ba" rhyme scheme. This rhyme scheme is the one used, for example, in the rubaiyat form. Similarly, an "a-bb-a" quatrain (what is known as "
enclosed rhyme Enclosed rhyme (or enclosing rhyme) is the rhyme scheme ABBA (that is, where the first and fourth lines, and the second and third lines rhyme). Enclosed-rhyme quatrains are used in introverted quatrains, as in the first two stanzas of Petrarchan so ...
") is used in such forms as the
Petrarchan sonnetThe Petrarchan sonnet, also known as the Italian sonnet, is a sonnet named after the Italian poet Francesco Petrarca, although it was not developed by Petrarca himself, but rather by a string of Renaissance poets.Spiller, Michael R. G. The Developmen ...
. Some types of more complicated rhyming schemes have developed names of their own, separate from the "a-bc" convention, such as the
ottava rima Ottava rima is a rhyming stanza form of Italian origin. Originally used for long poems on heroic themes, it later came to be popular in the writing of mock-heroic works. Its earliest known use is in the writings of Giovanni Boccaccio. The ottava ...
and
terza rima ''Terza rima'' (, also , ) is a rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three-line rhyme scheme. It was first used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Form The literal translation of ''terza rima'' from Italian is "third rhyme" ...
. The types and use of differing rhyming schemes are discussed further in the main article.


Form in poetry

Poetic form is more flexible in modernist and post-modernist poetry and continues to be less structured than in previous literary eras. Many modern poets eschew recognizable structures or forms and write in
free verse Free verse is an open form of poetry, which in its modern form arose through the French ''vers libre'' form. It does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern. It thus tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech. Definitio ...
. But poetry remains distinguished from prose by its form; some regard for basic formal structures of poetry will be found in even the best free verse, however much such structures may appear to have been ignored. Similarly, in the best poetry written in classic styles there will be departures from strict form for emphasis or effect. Among major structural elements used in poetry are the line, the
stanza In poetry, a stanza (; from Italian ''stanza'' , "room") is a grouped set of lines within a poem, usually set off from others by a blank line or indentation. Stanzas can have regular rhyme and metrical schemes, though stanzas are not strictly requi ...
or verse paragraph, and larger combinations of stanzas or lines such as cantos. Also sometimes used are broader visual presentations of words and calligraphy. These basic units of poetic form are often combined into larger structures, called ''poetic forms'' or poetic modes (see the following section), as in the
sonnet A sonnet is a poetic form which originated in the Italian poetry composed at the Court of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in Palermo, Sicily. The 13th-century poet and notary Giacomo da Lentini is credited with the sonnet's invention for expre ...
.


Lines and stanzas

Poetry is often separated into lines on a page, in a process known as line break (poetry), lineation. These lines may be based on the number of metrical feet or may emphasize a rhyming pattern at the ends of lines. Lines may serve other functions, particularly where the poem is not written in a formal metrical pattern. Lines can separate, compare or contrast thoughts expressed in different units, or can highlight a change in tone. See the article on line break (poetry), line breaks for information about the division between lines. Lines of poems are often organized into
stanza In poetry, a stanza (; from Italian ''stanza'' , "room") is a grouped set of lines within a poem, usually set off from others by a blank line or indentation. Stanzas can have regular rhyme and metrical schemes, though stanzas are not strictly requi ...
s, which are denominated by the number of lines included. Thus a collection of two lines is a couplet (or distich), three lines a tercet, triplet (or tercet), four lines a quatrain, and so on. These lines may or may not relate to each other by rhyme or rhythm. For example, a couplet may be two lines with identical meters which rhyme or two lines held together by a common meter alone. Other poems may be organized into verse paragraphs, in which regular rhymes with established rhythms are not used, but the poetic tone is instead established by a collection of rhythms, alliterations, and rhymes established in paragraph form. Many medieval poems were written in verse paragraphs, even where regular rhymes and rhythms were used. In many forms of poetry, stanzas are interlocking, so that the rhyming scheme or other structural elements of one stanza determine those of succeeding stanzas. Examples of such interlocking stanzas include, for example, the ghazal and the villanelle, where a refrain (or, in the case of the villanelle, refrains) is established in the first stanza which then repeats in subsequent stanzas. Related to the use of interlocking stanzas is their use to separate thematic parts of a poem. For example, the strophe, antistrophe and epode of the ode form are often separated into one or more stanzas. In some cases, particularly lengthier formal poetry such as some forms of epic poetry, stanzas themselves are constructed according to strict rules and then combined. In
skald , in chains, composing poetry after he was captured by King Óláfr Haraldsson (illustration by Christian Krohg for an 1899 edition of ''Heimskringla'') A Skald, or skáld (Old Norse: , later ; , meaning "poet"), is one of the often named poets wh ...
ic poetry, the dróttkvætt stanza had eight lines, each having three "lifts" produced with alliteration or assonance. In addition to two or three alliterations, the odd-numbered lines had partial rhyme of consonants with dissimilar vowels, not necessarily at the beginning of the word; the even lines contained internal rhyme in set syllables (not necessarily at the end of the word). Each half-line had exactly six syllables, and each line ended in a trochee. The arrangement of dróttkvætts followed far less rigid rules than the construction of the individual dróttkvætts.


Visual presentation

Even before the advent of printing, the visual appearance of poetry often added meaning or depth. Acrostic poems conveyed meanings in the initial letters of lines or in letters at other specific places in a poem. In Arabic poetry, Arabic, Jewish literature#Poetry, Hebrew and
Chinese poetry Chinese poetry is poetry written, spoken, or chanted in the Chinese language. While this last term comprises Classical Chinese, Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, and other historical and vernacular forms of the language, its poetry ...
, the visual presentation of finely calligraphy, calligraphed poems has played an important part in the overall effect of many poems. With the advent of printing, poets gained greater control over the mass-produced visual presentations of their work. Visual elements have become an important part of the poet's toolbox, and many poets have sought to use visual presentation for a wide range of purposes. Some Modernism, Modernist poets have made the placement of individual lines or groups of lines on the page an integral part of the poem's composition. At times, this complements the poem's
rhythm Rhythm (from Greek , ''rhythmos'', "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"—) generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions" . This general meaning of regular ...
through visual
caesura 100px, An example of a caesura in modern western music notation. A caesura (, . caesuras or caesurae; Latin for "cutting"), also written cæsura and cesura, is a metrical pause or break in a verse where one phrase ends and another phrase begins. It ...
s of various lengths, or creates Contrast (linguistics), juxtapositions so as to accentuate meaning,
ambiguity Ambiguity is a type of meaning in which a phrase, statement or resolution is not explicitly defined, making several interpretations plausible. A common aspect of ambiguity is uncertainty. It is thus an attribute of any idea or statement whose ...
or
irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what on the surface appears to be the case or to be expected differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony can be categorized into differe ...

irony
, or simply to create an aesthetically pleasing form. In its most extreme form, this can lead to concrete poetry or asemic writing.


Diction

Poetic diction treats the manner in which language is used, and refers not only to the sound but also to the underlying meaning and its interaction with sound and form. Many languages and poetic forms have very specific poetic dictions, to the point where distinct grammars and dialects are used specifically for poetry. Register tone, Registers in poetry can range from strict employment of ordinary speech patterns, as favoured in much late-20th-century Prosody (poetry), prosody, through to highly ornate uses of language, as in medieval and Renaissance poetry. Poetic diction can include rhetorical devices such as
simile A simile () is a figure of speech that directly ''compares'' two things. Similes differ from other metaphors by highlighting the similarities between two things using comparison words such as "like", "as", "so", or " than", while other metaphors cr ...
and
metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities between two different ideas. Metaphors are often compared with ...
, as well as tones of voice, such as
irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what on the surface appears to be the case or to be expected differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony can be categorized into differe ...

irony
.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic schoo ...

Aristotle
wrote in the ''Poetics (Aristotle), Poetics'' that "the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor." Since the rise of Modernism, some poets have opted for a poetic diction that de-emphasizes rhetorical devices, attempting instead the direct presentation of things and experiences and the exploration of Tone (linguistics), tone. On the other hand, surrealism, Surrealists have pushed rhetorical devices to their limits, making frequent use of catachresis. Allegory, Allegorical stories are central to the poetic diction of many cultures, and were prominent in the West during classical times, the Allegory in the Middle Ages, late Middle Ages and the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries. It occurred after the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages an ...
. ''Aesop's Fables'', repeatedly rendered in both verse and prose since first being recorded about 500 BCE, are perhaps the richest single source of allegorical poetry through the ages. Other notables examples include the ''Roman de la Rose'', a 13th-century French poem, William Langland's ''Piers Ploughman'' in the 14th century, and Jean de la Fontaine's ''Fables'' (influenced by Aesop's) in the 17th century. Rather than being fully allegorical, however, a poem may contain symbols or allusions that deepen the meaning or effect of its words without constructing a full allegory. Another element of poetic diction can be the use of vivid imagery (literature), imagery for effect. The juxtaposition of unexpected or impossible images is, for example, a particularly strong element in surrealist poetry and haiku. Vivid images are often endowed with symbolism or metaphor. Many poetic dictions use repetitive phrases for effect, either a short phrase (such as Homer's "rosy-fingered dawn" or "the wine-dark sea") or a longer refrain. Such repetition can add a somber tone to a poem, or can be laced with irony as the context of the words changes.


Forms

Specific poetic forms have been developed by many cultures. In more developed, closed or "received" poetic forms, the rhyming scheme, meter and other elements of a poem are based on sets of rules, ranging from the relatively loose rules that govern the construction of an elegy to the highly formalized structure of the ghazal or villanelle. Described below are some common forms of poetry widely used across a number of languages. Additional forms of poetry may be found in the discussions of the poetry of particular cultures or periods and in the Glossary of poetry terms, glossary.


Sonnet

Among the most common forms of poetry, popular from the Late Middle Ages on, is the sonnet, which by the 13th century had become standardized as fourteen lines following a set rhyme scheme and logical structure. By the 14th century and the Italian Renaissance, the form had further crystallized under the pen of Petrarch, whose sonnets were translated in the 16th century by Thomas Wyatt (poet), Sir Thomas Wyatt, who is credited with introducing the sonnet form into English literature. A traditional Italian or
Petrarchan sonnetThe Petrarchan sonnet, also known as the Italian sonnet, is a sonnet named after the Italian poet Francesco Petrarca, although it was not developed by Petrarca himself, but rather by a string of Renaissance poets.Spiller, Michael R. G. The Developmen ...
follows the rhyme scheme ''ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE'', though some variation, perhaps the most common being CDCDCD, especially within the final six lines (or ''sestet''), is common. The English sonnet, English (or Shakespearean) sonnet follows the rhyme scheme ''ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG'', introducing a third quatrain (grouping of four lines), a final couplet, and a greater amount of variety with regard to rhyme than is usually found in its Italian predecessors. By convention, sonnets in English typically use
iambic pentameter Iambic pentameter () is a type of metric line used in traditional English poetry and verse drama. The term describes the rhythm, or meter, established by the words in that line; rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables called "feet". "Iambic" ...
, while in the Romance languages, the hendecasyllable and Alexandrine are the most widely used meters. Sonnets of all types often make use of a ''volta'', or "turn," a point in the poem at which an idea is turned on its head, a question is answered (or introduced), or the subject matter is further complicated. This ''volta'' can often take the form of a "but" statement contradicting or complicating the content of the earlier lines. In the Petrarchan sonnet, the turn tends to fall around the division between the first two quatrains and the sestet, while English sonnets usually place it at or near the beginning of the closing couplet. Sonnets are particularly associated with high poetic diction, vivid imagery, and romantic love, largely due to the influence of Petrarch as well as of early English practitioners such as Edmund Spenser (who gave his name to the Spenserian sonnet), Michael Drayton, and Shakespeare, whose Shakespeare's sonnets, sonnets are among the most famous in English poetry, with twenty being included in the ''Oxford Book of English Verse''. However, the twists and turns associated with the ''volta'' allow for a logical flexibility applicable to many subjects. Poets from the earliest centuries of the sonnet to the present have utilized the form to address topics related to politics (
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious shifts ...
, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Claude McKay), theology (John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins), war (Wilfred Owen, e.e. cummings), and gender and sexuality (Carol Ann Duffy). Further, postmodern authors such as Ted Berrigan and John Berryman have challenged the traditional definitions of the sonnet form, rendering entire sequences of "sonnets" that often lack rhyme, a clear logical progression, or even a consistent count of fourteen lines.


Shi

''Shi'' () Is the main type of Classical Chinese poetry. Within this form of poetry the most important variations are "folk song" styled verse (''yuefu''), "old style" verse (''gushi (poetry), gushi''), "modern style" verse (''jintishi''). In all cases, rhyming is obligatory. The Yuefu is a folk ballad or a poem written in the folk ballad style, and the number of lines and the length of the lines could be irregular. For the other variations of ''shi'' poetry, generally either a four line (quatrain, or ''jueju'') or else an eight-line poem is normal; either way with the even numbered lines rhyming. The line length is scanned by an according number of characters (according to the convention that one character equals one syllable), and are predominantly either five or seven characters long, with a
caesura 100px, An example of a caesura in modern western music notation. A caesura (, . caesuras or caesurae; Latin for "cutting"), also written cæsura and cesura, is a metrical pause or break in a verse where one phrase ends and another phrase begins. It ...
before the final three syllables. The lines are generally end-stopped, considered as a series of couplets, and exhibit verbal parallelism as a key poetic device. The "old style" verse (''Gushi'') is less formally strict than the ''jintishi'', or regulated verse, which, despite the name "new style" verse actually had its theoretical basis laid as far back as Shen Yue (441–513 CE), although not considered to have reached its full development until the time of Chen Zi'ang (661–702 CE). A good example of a poet known for his ''Gushi'' poems is Li Bai (701–762 CE). Among its other rules, the jintishi rules regulate the tonal variations within a poem, including the use of set patterns of the Four tones (Middle Chinese), four tones of Middle Chinese. The basic form of jintishi (sushi) has eight lines in four couplets, with parallelism between the lines in the second and third couplets. The couplets with parallel lines contain contrasting content but an identical grammatical relationship between words. Jintishi often have a rich poetic diction, full of allusion, and can have a wide range of subject, including history and politics. One of the masters of the form was Du Fu (712–770 CE), who wrote during the Tang Dynasty (8th century).


Villanelle

The villanelle is a nineteen-line poem made up of five triplets with a closing quatrain; the poem is characterized by having two refrains, initially used in the first and third lines of the first stanza, and then alternately used at the close of each subsequent stanza until the final quatrain, which is concluded by the two refrains. The remaining lines of the poem have an a-b alternating rhyme. The villanelle has been used regularly in the English language since the late 19th century by such poets as Dylan Thomas, W. H. Auden, and Elizabeth Bishop.


Limerick

A limerick is a poem that consists of five lines and is often humorous. Rhythm is very important in limericks for the first, second and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables. However, the third and fourth lines only need five to seven. All of the lines must rhyme and have the same rhythm. Practitioners of the limerick included Edward Lear, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson.


Tanka

Tanka is a form of unrhymed Japanese poetry, with five sections totalling 31 ''On (Japanese prosody), on'' (phonological units identical to Mora (linguistics), morae), structured in a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern. There is generally a shift in tone and subject matter between the upper 5-7-5 phrase and the lower 7-7 phrase. Tanka were written as early as the Asuka period by such poets as Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (''fl.'' late 7th century), at a time when Japan was emerging from a period where much of its poetry followed Chinese form. Tanka was originally the shorter form of Japanese formal poetry (which was generally referred to as "waka (poetry), waka"), and was used more heavily to explore personal rather than public themes. By the tenth century, tanka had become the dominant form of Japanese poetry, to the point where the originally general term ''waka'' ("Japanese poetry") came to be used exclusively for tanka. Tanka are still widely written today.


Haiku

Haiku is a popular form of unrhymed Japanese poetry, which evolved in the 17th century from the ''hokku'', or opening verse of a renku. Generally written in a single vertical line, the haiku contains three sections totalling 17 ''on'' (Mora (linguistics), morae), structured in a 5-7-5 pattern. Traditionally, haiku contain a kireji, or cutting word, usually placed at the end of one of the poem's three sections, and a kigo, or season-word. The most famous exponent of the haiku was
Matsuo Bashō , born , then , was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative ''haikai no renga'' form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest m ...
(1644–1694). An example of his writing: : :fuji no kaze ya oogi ni nosete Edo miyage : the wind of Mt. Fuji : I've brought on my fan! : a gift from Edo


Khlong

The ''khlong'' (, ) is among the oldest Thai poetic forms. This is reflected in its requirements on the tone markings of certain syllables, which must be marked with ''mai ek'' (, , ) or ''mai tho'' (, , ). This was likely derived from when the Thai language had three tones (as opposed to today's five, a split which occurred during the Ayutthaya Kingdom period), two of which corresponded directly to the aforementioned marks. It is usually regarded as an advanced and sophisticated poetic form. Reproduced form In ''khlong'', a stanza (''bot'', , ) has a number of lines (''bat'', , , from Pali and Sanskrit ''Pada (foot), pāda''), depending on the type. The ''bat'' are subdivided into two ''wak'' (, , from Sanskrit ''varga''). The first ''wak'' has five syllables, the second has a variable number, also depending on the type, and may be optional. The type of ''khlong'' is named by the number of ''bat'' in a stanza; it may also be divided into two main types: ''khlong suphap'' (, ) and ''khlong dan'' (, ). The two differ in the number of syllables in the second ''wak'' of the final ''bat'' and inter-stanza rhyming rules.


Khlong si suphap

The ''khlong si suphap'' (, ) is the most common form still currently employed. It has four ''bat'' per stanza (''si'' translates as ''four''). The first ''wak'' of each ''bat'' has five syllables. The second ''wak'' has two or four syllables in the first and third ''bat'', two syllables in the second, and four syllables in the fourth. ''Mai ek'' is required for seven syllables and ''Mai tho'' is required for four, as shown below. "Dead word (Thai language), Dead word" syllables are allowed in place of syllables which require ''mai ek'', and changing the spelling of words to satisfy the criteria is usually acceptable.


Ode

Odes were first developed by poets writing in ancient Greek, such as
Pindar Pindar (; grc-gre, Πίνδαρος , ; la, Pindarus; c. 518 – 438 BC) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, ...
, and Latin, such as Horace. Forms of odes appear in many of the cultures that were influenced by the Greeks and Latins. The ode generally has three parts: a strophe, an antistrophe, and an epode. The antistrophes of the ode possess similar metrical structures and, depending on the tradition, similar rhyme structures. In contrast, the epode is written with a different scheme and structure. Odes have a formal poetic diction and generally deal with a serious subject. The strophe and antistrophe look at the subject from different, often conflicting, perspectives, with the epode moving to a higher level to either view or resolve the underlying issues. Odes are often intended to be recited or sung by two choruses (or individuals), with the first reciting the strophe, the second the antistrophe, and both together the epode. Over time, differing forms for odes have developed with considerable variations in form and structure, but generally showing the original influence of the Pindaric or Horatian ode. One non-Western form which resembles the ode is the
qasida The qaṣīda (also spelled ''qaṣīdah''; is originally an Arabic word , plural ''qaṣā'id'', ; that was passed to some other languages such as fa, قصیده or چكامه, ''chakameh'', and tr, kaside) is an ancient Arabic word and form of w ...
in Persian poetry.


Ghazal

The ghazal (also ghazel, gazel, gazal, or gozol) is a form of poetry common in Arabic poetry, Arabic, Bengali poetry, Bengali, Persian literature, Persian and Urdu poetry, Urdu. In classic form, the ghazal has from five to fifteen rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second line. This refrain may be of one or several syllables and is preceded by a rhyme. Each line has an identical meter. The ghazal often reflects on a theme of unattainable love or divinity. As with other forms with a long history in many languages, many variations have been developed, including forms with a quasi-musical poetic diction in Urdu. Ghazals have a classical affinity with Sufism, and a number of major Sufi religious works are written in ghazal form. The relatively steady meter and the use of the refrain produce an incantatory effect, which complements Sufi mystical themes well. Among the masters of the form is
Rumi Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī ( fa, جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhī (), Mevlânâ/Mowlānā (, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (, "my master"), and more popularly simply as Rumi (30 Se ...
, a 13th-century Persian poet. One of the most famous poet in this type of poetry is Hafez, whose poems often include the theme of exposing hypocrisy. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-fourteenth century Persian writing more than any other author. The West-östlicher Diwan of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a collection of lyrical poems, is inspired by the Persian poet Hafez.


Genres

In addition to specific forms of poems, poetry is often thought of in terms of different
genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a category of literature, music, or other form ...

genre
s and subgenres. A poetic genre is generally a tradition or classification of poetry based on the subject matter, style, or other broader literary characteristics. Some commentators view genres as natural forms of literature. Others view the study of genres as the study of how different works relate and refer to other works.


Narrative poetry

Narrative poetry is a genre of poetry that tells a narrative, story. Broadly it subsumes
epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to th ...
, but the term "narrative poetry" is often reserved for smaller works, generally with more appeal to human interest. Narrative poetry may be the oldest type of poetry. Many scholars of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year si ...
have concluded that his ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down circ ...
'' and ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc-gre, Ὀδύσσεια, , ) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still read by contemporary audiences. As with the ''Iliad'', the poem is ...
'' were composed of compilations of shorter narrative poems that related individual episodes. Much narrative poetry—such as Scottish and English
ballad A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French ''chanson balladée'' or ''ballade'', which were originally "dance songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and so ...
s, and Balts, Baltic and Slavic peoples, Slavic heroic poems—is performance poetry with roots in a preliterate oral tradition. It has been speculated that some features that distinguish poetry from prose, such as meter,
alliteration In literature, alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, allitera ...
and kennings, once served as memory aids for bards who recited traditional tales. Notable narrative poets have included Ovid, Dante, Juan Ruiz, William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer, Chaucer, Fernando de Rojas, Luís de Camões, Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, Robert Burns, Adam Mickiewicz,
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (; rus, links=no, Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкинIn Pushkin's day, his name was written ., r=Aleksándr Sergéyevich Púshkin, p=ɐlʲɪkˈsandr sʲɪrˈɡʲe(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn, a=ru-Push ...
,
Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (; born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is w ...
, Alfred Tennyson, and Anne Carson.


Lyric poetry

Lyric poetry is a genre that, unlike epic poetry, epic and dramatic poetry, does not attempt to tell a story but instead is of a more personal nature. Poems in this genre tend to be shorter, melodic, and contemplative. Rather than depicting Character (arts), characters and actions, it portrays the poet's own feelings, Qualia, states of mind, and perceptions. Notable poets in this genre include Christine de Pizan, John Donne, Charles Baudelaire, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Antonio Machado, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.


Epic poetry

Epic poetry is a genre of poetry, and a major form of narrative literature. This genre is often defined as lengthy poems concerning events of a heroic or important nature to the culture of the time. It recounts, in a continuous narrative, the life and works of a Hero, heroic or mythological person or group of persons. Examples of epic poems are
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year si ...
's ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, ', ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Usually considered to have been written down circ ...
'' and ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc-gre, Ὀδύσσεια, , ) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is one of the oldest extant works of literature still read by contemporary audiences. As with the ''Iliad'', the poem is ...
'',
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 70 BC21 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature: the ' ...
's
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is ) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in ...
, the ''Nibelungenlied'', Luís de Camões' ''Os Lusíadas'', the ''Cantar de Mio Cid'', the ''
Epic of Gilgamesh Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media ...
'', the ''
Mahabharata The ''Mahābhārata'' (, ; sa, महाभारतम्, ', ) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the ''Rāmāyaṇa''. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and ...
'', Lönnrot's ''Kalevala'', Valmiki's ''
Ramayana ''Rāmāyana'' (; sa, रामायणम्, ) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient Indian history, the other being the ''Mahābhārata''. Along with the ''Mahābhārata'', it forms the Hindu Itihasa. The epic, traditionally a ...
'', Ferdowsi's ''Shahnama'', Nizami Ganjavi, Nizami (or Nezami)'s Khamse (Five Books), and the ''Epic of King Gesar''. While the composition of epic poetry, and of long poems generally, became less common in the west after the early 20th century, some notable epics have continued to be written. The Cantos by Ezra Pound, Helen in Egypt by H.D., and Paterson (poem) by
William Carlos Williams William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) was a Puerto Rican-American poet, writer, and physician closely associated with modernism and imagism. In addition to his writing, Williams had a long career as a physician practicing ...
are examples of modern epics. Derek Walcott won a Nobel prize in 1992 to a great extent on the basis of his epic, ''Omeros''.


Satirical poetry

Poetry can be a powerful vehicle for satire. The Ancient Rome, Romans had a strong tradition of satirical poetry, often written for political purposes. A notable example is the Roman poet Juvenal's Satires of Juvenal, satires. The same is true of the English satirical tradition. John Dryden (a Tory), the first Poet Laureate, produced in 1682 ''Mac Flecknoe'', subtitled "A Satire on the True Blue Protestant Poet, T.S." (a reference to Thomas Shadwell). Another master of 17th-century English satirical poetry was John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Satirical poets outside England include Poland's Ignacy Krasicki, Azerbaijan's Mirza Alakbar Sabir, Sabir, Portugal's Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage, and Korea's Kim Kirim, especially noted for his ''Gisangdo''.


Elegy

An elegy is a mournful, melancholy or plaintive poem, especially a lament for the dead or a funeral song. The term "elegy," which originally denoted a type of poetic meter (elegiac meter), commonly describes a poem of mourning. An elegy may also reflect something that seems to the author to be strange or mysterious. The elegy, as a reflection on a death, on a sorrow more generally, or on something mysterious, may be classified as a form of lyric poetry. Notable practitioners of elegiac poetry have included Propertius, Jorge Manrique, Jan Kochanowski, Chidiock Tichborne, Edmund Spenser, Ben Jonson,
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and later under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious shifts ...
, Thomas Gray, Charlotte Turner Smith, William Cullen Bryant, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Evgeny Baratynsky, Alfred Tennyson, Walt Whitman, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, William Butler Yeats, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Virginia Woolf.


Verse fable

The fable is an ancient literary genre, often (though not invariably) set in Verse (poetry), verse. It is a succinct story that features Anthropomorphism, anthropomorphised animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that illustrate a moral lesson (a "moral"). Verse fables have used a variety of
meter The metre (Commonwealth spelling) or meter (American spelling; see spelling differences) (from the French unit , from the Greek noun , "measure", and cognate with Sanskrit , meaning "measured") is the base unit of length in the Internation ...
and
rhyme A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, exactly the same sound) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for artistic effect in the fi ...
patterns. Notable verse fabulists have included Aesop, Vishnu Sarma, Phaedrus (fabulist), Phaedrus, Marie de France, Robert Henryson, Biernat of Lublin, Jean de La Fontaine, Ignacy Krasicki, Félix María de Samaniego, Tomás de Iriarte, Ivan Krylov and Ambrose Bierce.


Dramatic poetry

Dramatic poetry is
drama Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been con ...
written in Verse (poetry), verse to be spoken or sung, and appears in varying, sometimes related forms in many cultures. Greek tragedy in verse dates to the 6th century B.C., and may have been an influence on the development of Sanskrit drama, just as Indian drama in turn appears to have influenced the development of the ''bianwen'' verse dramas in China, forerunners of Chinese Opera. East Asian verse dramas also include Japanese Noh. Examples of dramatic poetry in Persian literature include Nizami Ganjavi, Nizami's two famous dramatic works, ''Layla and Majnun'' and ''Khosrow and Shirin'', Ferdowsi's tragedies such as ''Sohrab, Rostam and Sohrab'',
Rumi Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī ( fa, جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhī (), Mevlânâ/Mowlānā (, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (, "my master"), and more popularly simply as Rumi (30 Se ...
's ''Masnavi'', Asad Gorgani, Gorgani's tragedy of ''Vis and Ramin'', and Vahshi Bafqi, Vahshi's tragedy of ''Farhad''. American poets of 20th century revive dramatic poetry, including Ezra Pound in “''Sestina: Altaforte,''” T. S. Eliot, T.S. Eliot with “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,”.


Speculative poetry

Speculative poetry, also known as fantastic poetry (of which weird or macabre poetry is a major sub-classification), is a poetic genre which deals thematically with subjects which are "beyond reality", whether via extrapolation as in science fiction or via weird and horrific themes as in horror fiction. Such poetry appears regularly in modern science fiction and horror fiction magazines.
Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (; born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is w ...
is sometimes seen as the "father of speculative poetry". Poe's most remarkable achievement in the genre was his anticipation, by three-quarters of a century, of the Big Bang theory of the universe's origin, in his then much-derided 1848 essay (which, due to its very speculative nature, he termed a "prose poem"), ''Eureka: A Prose Poem''.


Prose poetry

Prose poetry is a hybrid genre that shows attributes of both prose and poetry. It may be indistinguishable from the microfiction, micro-story (List of acronyms and initialisms: A#AK, a.k.a. the "short short story", "flash fiction"). While some examples of earlier prose strike modern readers as poetic, prose poetry is commonly regarded as having originated in 19th-century France, where its practitioners included Aloysius Bertrand, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé. Since the late 1980s especially, prose poetry has gained increasing popularity, with entire journals, such as ''The Prose Poem: An International Journal'', ''Contemporary Haibun Online'', and ''Haibun Today'' devoted to that genre and its hybrids. Latin American poetry, Latin American poets of the 20th century who wrote prose poems include Octavio Paz and Alejandra Pizarnik.


Light poetry

Light poetry, or light verse, is poetry that attempts to be humorous. Poems considered "light" are usually brief, and can be on a frivolous or serious subject, and often feature word play, including puns, adventurous rhyme and heavy
alliteration In literature, alliteration is the conspicuous repetition of identical initial consonant sounds in successive or closely associated syllables within a group of words, even those spelled differently. As a method of linking words for effect, allitera ...
. Although a few free verse poets have excelled at light verse outside the formal verse tradition, light verse in English usually obeys at least some formal conventions. Common forms include the limerick (poetry), limerick, the clerihew, and the double dactyl. While light poetry is sometimes condemned as doggerel, or thought of as poetry composed casually, humor often makes a serious point in a subtle or subversive way. Many of the most renowned "serious" poets have also excelled at light verse. Notable writers of light poetry include Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, X. J. Kennedy, Willard R. Espy, Shel Silverstein, and Wendy Cope.


Slam poetry

Slam poetry as a genre originated in 1986 in Chicago, Illinois, when Marc Kelly Smith organized the first slam. Slam performers comment emotively, aloud before an audience, on personal, social, or other matters. Slam focuses on the aesthetics of word play, intonation, and voice inflection. Slam poetry is often competitive, at dedicated "poetry slam" contests.


See also

* Digital poetry * Glossary of poetry terms * Improvisation * List of poetry groups and movements * Oral poetry * Outline of poetry * Persona poetry * Poet laureate * Poetry reading * Rhapsode * Spoken word


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

; Books * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * *
Poetry, Music and Narrative - The Science of Art


Anthologies

* * * * * {{Authority control Poetry, Literature Aesthetics Genres of poetry, Poetic form, Spoken word