What is Poetry?

Poetry is one of the most well-known writing styles in history and whilst its birth can’t be exactly traced the earliest recordings come from ancient times when we first invented writing. One of the most respected literature genres, it is extremely versatile and it manages to approach various themes and express different feelings and emotions. There are many styles of poetry that were designed specifically to be used for a theme or for the writing preferences of the artist. Let’s explore these different styles and how they work.

Different Genres

Epic poetry is usually a very long poem used to describe complex action containing a multitude of characters. It is one of the oldest types of poems being very popular in ancient times, mainly forming the way of writing history back then. The verses have rhymes, but they are much longer than a classic poem and have a very complex action that can be spread over a long-time frame. Adjectives and metaphors are used in abundance to enhance the beauty of the poem and the characters are usually very well described and bear great importance. The themes considered in the epic style are usually about legendary heroes and myths.

The sonnet is essentially one of the main forms of poetry in the world and the word itself means “song”, therefore when we read such a poem, we automatically have a certain rhythm in our minds. The poems are not very long, usually describing a short action or event. First created by Dante, sonnets are written in iambic meter and usually they don’t exceed 14 lines, but the technical part behind the sonnet was developed later by writers like Shakespeare.

Free verse poems are typically identified with the contemporary era and can be recognized by their specific lack of rhyming verse. This modern form of poetry stands as a contradiction to the older and more established rules of the genre. The rhythm is usually dictated by the different lengths between the verses and the themes approached are various giving the writer full freedom to write in multiple styles and to establish musicality with the words.

Elegies are a specific type of poetry that usually describes someone’s death. The theme revolves around the sadness of the occasion and an appraisal of that person. The oldest record of an elegy comes from Ancient Greece where they were used to bring respect to the gods and the dead leaders.

The ballad is a style of poetry that contains the most rapid rhythms and the name itself means dance. The poems are usually very joyful, and the themes approached are usually happy and enjoyable to a wide audience.

Haiku is a very rigid type of poetry from Medieval Japan that consists of just three lines with five and seven syllables. The style is still widely popular in Japan and although seemingly simple requires much skill and discipline to achieve a concise and meaningful result.