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Poetry is not a matter of feelings, it is matter of language. Its language that creates feelings. - Umberto Eco

Poetry is one of the oldest and most popular mediums to express our thoughts, emotions, and feelings to reach people. It allows us to appreciate the world around us and see things differently, it provides us a way to embrace each other as we connect through words. Poetry brings us closer, as it takes us in an imaginary world, far away from the chaotic world we live in. It is the oldest form of literature, rich in both written and oral forms.

Poetry as we all know is part of literature that evokes expressions and emotions through chosen words arranged in a sound, rhythm. Its lyrical compilation of aesthetic words conveys particular thoughts, emotions, descriptions of scenes. These sentences are structured with rhyming lines, and meter rhythm.

It is a process of creating a literary piece using metaphors, artistic words which stir readers’ imaginations, emotions. Poetry is the integral form of literature, which we find in every known language in the world.

History of Poetry

Poetry is as ancient as mankind it is believed that poetry to have originated from ancient rituals, chants used for storytelling purposes performed in religious ceremonies or any events. Poetry has roots back to cavemen and the earliest shamans, who chronicled events in picture stories.

Throughout history, poets have been writing on various topics and genres from romantic to spiritual to mysticism. Many ancient cultures composed poetry, from ancient Greeks, Romans who wrote epics and love poems. French poetry, which is the earliest form of French literature, Persian which is considered the most poetic language also has a long history in poetry. Poets like Homer and Virgil were revered during ancient times. Ancient Hebrews wrote lyrical poems which we know as Psalms and Song of Solomon.


Poetry has a long and varied history across the globe, like all other types of art and music, the evolution of poetry escalated with time and gained more popularity in open societies, where intellectual artists felt more liberated. As language developed, Poetry also evolved itself over the years, stanzaic verse began as a series of conscious pauses by oral storytellers during their recitations. Poetry salons emerged in cities like Paris and London.

Poets came a long way and they evolved and created, modified poetic forms over civilizations from which they emerged. The gorgeous lyrical love poems from Ancient Greece and Rome reflected openly physical and emotional expression in form of Ode, fable, verses.

Greece’s poetic contribution was part of the greatest cultural and intellectual community in world history. Their poetry included everything the ode, epic, lyric, tragedy, and comedy. The Greek epics “The Illiad” and “The Odyssey” age back to 700 BC.

Lyrical poetry began to flourish around 400-1500 AD, which reflected the centrality of the church in European life. During the Medieval period poetry even became a medium of conversing without speaking—like during war times, if someone was captured, they would write poems on walls or trees. Artists would even write poetry in their paintings to honor the subjects they were depicting.

During 11-14th Centuries Poetry was more influenced by Arabic civilization. Poets like Omar Khayyam and Rumi were inspired by Latin and Greek poets. It was during the 13th century, poets started using Rhythm, meter, and form, different styles of poetry emerged during these times.

After the Italian Renaissance, the Ballad and the Sonnet, found their way in England, which introduced the world to lyrical and narrative poetry. It was in the 16th -17th Century which gave rise to Elizabethan and Shakespeare era as English literature modernized. It was during these times that poetry was introduced into the educational system and it made its way into academic study. Students were expected to write poetry themselves, where they wrote about nature, love, religion, and more abstract topics.

During the late 18th century, the Romantic poetry movement originated characterized by an emphasis on subjectivity, emotion, spontaneity, and the natural world. It also marked the beginning of an era of “lyrical ballad” which emphasized sensory description and narrative over formal rules or logic. These poets valued nature and human emotion more as they believed artists should represent their own emotional experiences.

Poetry at the heart of society

In general opinion, poetry is considered to be a form of literature that is fictional, mystical, and far away from reality and a source of entertainment, and “poets” are perceived as solitary, hermetic people. Over the years, across ages poets have served communities as the most proactive, creative, vital, engaging element in regional and national trends.

There have been instances where poets have played an integral part in movements across histories. Poets have played significant roles in voicing out plights of society, and have been the voice of any social and political discourses too. Poetry reaches audiences as a distinct literary art form, and poets are capable to engage, influencing, and inspiring readers with mastery of language.

The art of poetry may be performed in solitude but it is an embodiment of the experience of learning and plays important role in shaping the minds of the generation. Poets are like showing a mirror to society, as they show what’s happening, give observations, and also show how things can be and should be.

Forms of Poetry

Over centuries Poetry as an art form has progressed in popularity and influence. It is also considered the highest form of literature as it uses all eight parts of speech to convey our thoughts and emotions effectively.

If we study Poetry as a subject, we will come across various forms of poetry.

  1. Ballad - It is usually sung, narrating a story
  2. Haiku - Generally a 3-line poem, it is a Japanese Poetic form
  3. Free Verse - Poems that don't follow any specific rhythm, rhyme pattern, or length
  4. Lyric poem - Poems that expresses the speakers’ thoughts or feelings and creates a single, imaginative impression on the reader.
  5. Narrative Poem - poem depicting sequential events of a story
  6. Ode - A long serious poem in praise of something
  7. Sonnet - A structured 14-line poem that follows specific rhyme, structure, and rhythm
  8. Limerick - A 5-line poem that follows a rhyme and rhythm

What makes a poem?

Voice: Speaker and Tone

  1. Poet’s attitude towards the subject decides the tone,
  2. Syntax, Sound, Rhyme, Rhythm, and Meter - A poem needs to specifically follow a rhyme and rhythm
  3. Structure - how a poem is organized, a poem can be organized much like an essay, but it has to have a proper structure.
  4. Mood/Genre - The content of a poem, defines its mood and genre - it can be romantic, Tragic, melancholic, patriotic, Heroic, Ode, Satirical

As a stand-alone art form, poetry is and has always been the least lucrative form of writing, but it will always be relevant among people. Over the years poets have experimented with different poetic styles, genres and they have always managed to maintain their relevance in literature and society.

With times people may evolve, a new medium of entertainment may emerge but Poetry as an art form will always have its place in Literature. History has proved that poetry will never die, it will continue to evolve as poets will always continue to find innovative ways to engage with it. The role of poetry will be forever-changing - adapting itself to the needs of society as poets see fit, and as the human experience necessitates.

Poetry: the best words in the best order - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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