Poetry: Everything You Need To Know

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Written by Frankie Cameron

Are you a fan of poetry? Recently I watched the Amazon Prime special with Rupi Kaur. It was amazing to watch her perform her art, and it got me thinking about poetry.

Poetry is a method of literary expression that uses specific words to deliver imaginative ideas in rhythmic form. A poem is a literary composition written using this principle.

Some suggest that poetry was used in our long distant past as a creative means of passing along traditions and history simply because the poetic language was easy to memorize and enjoyable to recite.

Robert Frost may have defined it best:

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.

Robert Frost

Writing Conventions

Poetry encompasses many types of writing conventions to evoke emotions, such as:

  • Assonance
  • Alliteration
  • Irony
  • Metaphors
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Rhythm
  • Similes
  • Symbolism

Created in Canva.

Forms of Poetry

Poetry comes in many forms, but these are the most common:

– Haiku

An unrhymed verse with three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively.

– Limerick

A light, humorous verse form of five chiefly anapestic verses of which lines 1, 2, and 5 are of three feet and lines 3 and 4 are of two feet with a rhyme scheme of aabba.

– Ode

A lyric poem that is usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity of stanza forms.

– Sonnets

A fixed verse form comprising 14 lines that are typically 5-foot iambics rhyming according to a prescribed scheme.

Other forms of poetry include Shi, Villanelle, Tanka, Khlong.

Genres of Poetry

Along with forms, there are also genres of poetry, such as:

– An Elegy

An elegy is a serious reflection, a mournful, melancholy or plaintive poem. Commonly known as a funeral song. Alfred Tennyson, Walt Whitman, William Butler Yeats, and Virginia Woolf write in this genre.

– Dramatic Poetry

Dramatic poetry is a spoken or sung drama written in verse, that appears in many cultures. One of the most famous is The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot.

– Epic Poetry

We often define epic poetry as lengthy poems concerning events of a heroic or important nature to the culture of the time. Homer’s the Iliad and Odyssey are examples of this type of poetry.

– Light Poetry

Light Poetry is poetry that attempts to be humorous. It focuses on using wordplay, puns, rhymes and alliteration. Notable writers of light poetry include Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, and Wendy Cope.

– Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry is shorter and more lyrical than other types of poetry. They usually reflect the authors’ personal feelings and perceptions. Christine de Pizan, Charles Baudelair, and Antinio Machado wrote in this style.

– Narrative Poetry

Narrative poetry tells a story and may be the oldest form of poetry. Poets that write in this genre include Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Burns and Shakespeare.

– Prose Poetry

Prose poetry is a hybrid genre that shows attributes of both prose and poetry similar to a short story or flash fiction thought to have originated in 19th-century France with poets such as Aloysius Bertrand, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé.

– Satirical Poetry

Poets often wrote satirical poetry for political purposes.

– Slam Poetry

Slam poetry originated in Chicago Illinois in 1986 when Marc Kelly Smith organized the first slam. The 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.

– Speculative Poetry

Speculative Poetry aka fantastic poetry deals thematically with subjects beyond reality. Think science fiction or horror. People consider Edgar Allen Poe the father of this genre

– Verse Fable

An ancient literary genre set in verse that usually features animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate object or forces of nature. They also feature rhyme and meter. Aesop is probably the most famous poet to use this genre.

Poetry is the one element of writing that affects the emotions of writers more than any other. The vulnerable feel of poetry allows a writer to explore circumstances and emotions in a way that is difficult to do in most writing genres.

Five Poems to Love

These are five poems that resonated with me. I hate to say favourites because there are just so many poems to pick from, but today these are my picks. I have written how I interpret each one, but because poetry is subjective, you may infer something totally different.

1. Less Afraid

My Take: Don’t be scared to try something new because it might just be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Less afraid poem text on a wheat background

2. Untitled

My Take: Find someone that lifts you up and never tears you down.

Rupi Kaur poem with reaching hands

3. Keep Going

My Take: Trust yourself and keep going no matter what.

4. Nothing Gold Can Stay

My Take: Everything changes, and nothing stays the same.

5. Green Eggs & Ham

My Take: Mindset is everything.

Final Thoughts

From free verse to rhyme and meter, poetry remains a benchmark in the world of literature. What poems do you like? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time

Frankie

 

Feature image by Valerio Errani from Pixabay.

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights for any of these poems. No copyright infringement intended. Not for commercial use. Please do not distribute.

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2 Comments

  1. glenda higgins

    Are you thinking of writing poetry? i find “just letting it happen” instead of trying to follow some “format” is the best but i have to say some poets who follow the rhyming formats put out some wonderful poems too. writing poetry helps with prose writing, i find. we learn to say things with minimum words and paint picts better with our words

    Reply
    • Frankie Cameron

      Hi Glenda,

      I am nothing thinking about writing poetry. I just saw the Rupi Kaur presentation and it got me thinking about it. You have some really great poetry that I have read.

      Reply

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