People often get confused about poetry and poems. Poetry is the use of words and language to elicit a writer's thoughts and feelings while a poem is the arrangement of these words. Poetry uses metaphor, symbols and enigmatic words to create a literary piece while the poem is the complete result of this process.

Poetry is a type of literature, an artistic writing that attempts to stimulate a reader's imagination and emotions. In literature, poetry stands first even today as it has tremendous power to influence the world. This form of literature influences its other forms: novel, drama, short story and many more. Poetry is a major part of the curriculum in schools and colleges all over the world as it is the only medium that taps the emotions of students and their imagining power. In the history of English Literature, poetry has dominated the other forms in the Romantic period, Pre-Raphaelite period, the Metaphysical school of poets and the classical movement. Poetry is very important as it helps the readers comprehend and admire the world around them. The strength of poetry rests on the ability to drop a 'sideways' light on the environment around the readers. It shows the path how to live, it bares open the weakness of the human beings so they can relate to each other in a better way and so, it could be said that poetry works as a counsellor helping the human being understand each other in a better way, away from hate to love, from violence to mercy and pity.

According to Lidy Wilks 'poetry is a bridge, an immediate path to becoming better people and bringing change in the world. Reading and writing poetry leads to greater and better things, which benefits the rebuilding and forging of a more connected and caring world.

Readers have the questions in their mind about the importance of poetry in the life of a human being.

Inclusion of poetry in the school curriculum as the part of reading, writing and language learning can add additional value to the young minds. Poetry improves speaking and listening skills as the unique thing about poetry is that it is always read aloud, repeated and shared. It automatically develops the reading fluency as verses are read and practised. Children listen to the rhythm and rhyme present in the poetry, read it and the dots connect in the children's brain to widen up their horizons. They draw a picture in their minds which leads them to think and spread the wings of imagination.

Poetry provides the teachers too with a valuable tool which can be used to teach many literary skills. The rhyming words in the poems teach the children about phonics, the sentences in the poems are used to teach sentence construction, parts of speech and grammar skills.Though these can be learnt through prose too, poetry makes it easier.

Poetry builds vocabulary. Children learn new words they have not heard before.

While reading poems, breaking them into parts, children learn a lot about how to write poems by following the pattern and putting words in a particular order which is fun to follow. With the lessons on acrostic, shape and autobiographical poems, learning could be fun.

The poet and writer Jeanette Winterson said

'Poetry isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.'

As mentioned earlier, poetry inspires children's imaginations and makes them fly high. Children have a natural curiosity to advance and poetry encourages it. Poems provide enjoyment and laughter and the children move with its rhythm, they hear and add actions to it.

They read the poem 'This Is Just Going To Hurt A Little' by Ogden Nash and they get carried away by the original activities at the dentist's Chamber and feel pain but at the same time burst out in laughter with the similes and metaphors.

The poet carefully chooses and arranges the language to give it a meaning, sound, rhythm and a reader can see it in some forms of poems like nursery rhyme which is so simple and sometimes humorous.

Poetry is a form of expression. Writing it, lets the writer get out of their feelings and thoughts on a subject while reading it encourages them to connect and find meaning in their experiences. Poetry can have a positive impact on the social and emotional learning of children. It may offer them a new way of thinking about something.

The meaning of a poem is the message the poet gives to the reader. Writing lets the poets get out of their feelings and thoughts on a subject while reading it, the readers are encouraged to connect and find meaning in their experiences. Poetry can definitely have a positive effect on social and emotional learning. It can offer a new way of thinking as a poem has the power to move readers when its content and form work together to create an emotional punch that is more about poetry's elements, functions and uses. It explores the content and form equation.

The purpose of poetry might seem irrelevant for some as they have no particular interest in it but some love to read and write poetry and is meaningful to them.

There is poetry for all stages of life and all moods. It travels with its readers and guides them to reach their destination. For some, poetry has been a constant companion, they like to read these pieces in their darkest as well as happiest moments. Unlike prose, poetry drives the readers' attention to language not by sentence to sentence or word to word but by syllable to syllable and sound by sound. The rhythm and music of poetry inspires the readers to listen and open their senses. When the mind is trained to pay attention, the poems help them to enter into a blessed relationship naturally.

The poem is a part of the literary work of the poet. The poetry which could be classified in different elements like the mood of the poet, which he tries to convey through his poems. The theme of the work, which is the truth, lesson or message about life. The rhythm, the beat or sound and feeling of the poem. The meter is the number and style of accented syllables in a line. The rhyme which describes words that have similar sounding ending words. Stanza, a group of lines in a poem and line, the single row of words in a poem.

There are three main kinds of poetry; narrative, dramatic and lyrical. It's not always possible to differentiate between them. An epic poem can contain lyrical lines and those can portray narrative parts.

Poetry is not easy to define as from time immemorial, the poets themselves have been arguing among themselves about what is a poem. According to them there are some common characteristics which help the readers to differentiate the poetry from prose.

It is said that the work of poetry should look like a poem which means the lines should not run up to the margins, Some lines don't even form complete sentences which is actually the characteristic of a prose.

There are usually some musical devices that give the poem a song-like, lyrical quality.

Images are conveyed through sensory details and figurative language.

The poem has some form to hold it together. Some poems actually have a prescribed form like haikus and sonnets in which a poem has some meaning, image or emotion it wants to share with the reader and that makes a poem.

Poetry, which is also known as verse, is a form of literature that uses attractive and often rhythmic qualities of language such as phonaesthetics, the study of beauty and pleasantness associated with the sounds of certain words or parts of words and sound analogy.

Poets have rather tried to play with its different forms since the birth of poetry which help the readers understand most of the forms, some of which are well known to all poetry lovers… haiku or limerick. Both the forms are defined by their structure like line, length, meter, rhyme scheme and so on. These forms influence the works and make them different from one to another, from abrupt and intense haiku form to droning and mindless limerick.

Defined forms of poetry share three common elements of intentional line and stanza breaks, compatible rhyme scheme and bonding to the rules of meter in poetry.

'Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:

Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginner
And still with sickness and shame.
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne.
With thee
Let me combine,
And feel thy victories:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.'

The poem Easter Wings is one of George Herbert's best known works which shows his ability to experiment with the form of poetry, it is clearly mentioned in the shape of the lines. It is a two stanza shape poem, each stanza is organised in such a way that the lines form a particular shape.

That is how poetry, the towering form of literature, influences the readers as it shows the different shadows of human beings. Poetry could be described as one of the oldest arts and brainchild of human imagination. It expresses colourful feelings like friendship, hatred or love like human emotions. That is the reason it is said that the origin of poetry dates back to the stone age when the cavemen recorded different events in pictures to make stories though Geoffrey Chaucer is considered to be the father of English Literature and also called the father of English Poetry.

Poetry could be found in the hymns written by Sumerian Enheduanna, dedicated to the priestess Inanna, the fascinating figure. So it can be said that she was the first ever female poet, might be the first poet too who lived in the 23rd century BC, nearly 1500 years before Homer.

Rita Dove wrote 'Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful'

Some people are scared of poetry because they have a mind set that the poetry is all about rhyming, iambic(denoting a type of satirical verse) pentameter(a line of poetry with five strong beats) and obscure(unknown) language. Though some of the poetry lovers say that some of the most beautiful poems are difficult to understand too though poetry in general isn’t that ambiguous.

In the broadest sense of categorization, there are three different shapes that poetry can take; form poetry, free verse and prose poetry.

Form poetry is a pretty broad category. There are many different forms there, some of which are simple though some are so complex that the readers might need a spreadsheet. To name some are sonnets, haiku, senryu, acrostics, villanelles and sestinas. Some of them are as ancient as Homer and some of them date from recent years like the ones created by Laura Lamarca.

Some of these forms have fixed lengths as in Dante's Divine Comedy where we find eleven-syllable lines in an interlocking rhyme scheme whereas the poets who write haiku in English insist that lines contain a syllable count of 5-7-5. Actually, haiku is a Japanese form and the Japanese language doesn’t have syllables the way English does. 

Haiku by Matsuo Bashō reading "Quietly, quietly, / yellow mountain roses fall – / sound of the rapids".
Image by Wikipedia

So, the secret is flexibility. There's no need to be so rigid. For free verse, though It is said that there are no rules but there are some rules like the use of words, one can't just string together a bunch of verbal chirping and nasal clicks and call it a poem. Free verse is essentially, exactly what it sounds like. The poet is free to shape the poem however he wants. It doesn’t mean that there is no rhyme or no meter but there's no pattern to the rhyme or meter. The lines and stanzas can be of any length according to the poets' wishes. The length can be uniform or variable. The rhymes can be scattered throughout or no rhyme at all.

The prose poetry is able to blow the readers' minds.

There is prose which is written in sentences and paragraphs which focuses exclusively on the literal meaning of the words used and there is poetry which is written in lines and stanzas too, sometimes in various forms and Sometimes not. Meaning is important but only in the context of sound, lyrics, feel, rhythm, creativity of words and how they are arranged. So, how does a piece of prose differ from prose poetry?

Prose is clearly written in sentences and paragraphs but is not shaped into lines. Prose looks like large blocks of words whereas poetry is typically reserved for expressing something special in an artistic way. The language of poetry tends to be more expressive or decorated, with comparisons, rhyme and rhythm contributing to a different sound and feel.

Prose poetry uses the shape of prose… sentences and paragraphs but with the use of eloquence of a poem, the musicality, poetic devices and feeling over its meaning.

There are some rules for writing poetry. The subjective art form allows the poets freedom to express themselves. Poets don't have to follow any particular structure nor any specific rhyme pattern.

Generally poets use figures of speech or figurative language which are the ways of describing things in a non literal way. The usage 'Lightning touch' is known as metaphor whereas 'ran like a cheetah' is described as hyperbole. Both ways are used to compare but in different manners.

Poets use descriptive imagery, something concrete like anything felt, viewed or seen through sense organs. The poet creates a picture be it visual imagery or any other senses which the readers or listeners see or feel in their minds.

The punctuation and format of the poem decides the reading pattern like the poems consist of short line breaks or long. The punctuation marks determine the pause and expressions.

Poets use different sounds with different alphabets, soft or sharp and tones all through the poem to make it interesting.

The meter of a poem is actually the rhythm pattern used by the poets to make it melodious. They have some technical names like iambic pentameter or spondaic heptameter.

Poetry, the incredible art form, holds great importance in making the world of literature more pleasing.

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  • Alice Osborn: Why is poetry important to our world?
  • Tom Ryan: characteristics of poetry
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  • Wikipedia