What is Poetry? A Brief Outline
A Painting - Ruanne Manning - Poetry & Gentle Breezes
Poetry is an inspirational form of writing that can also be expressed in the spoken word. It has an emotional aspect to it and embraces ideas about practically anything worth giving attention to in life.
It's name originates from the Greek word poieo which means "I Create". Words used in poetry create beauty and become aesthetically pleasing to the reader. Poetry should flow and depth is imparted to it by the use of a particular rhythm or style. Although it should flow it does not necessarily have to rhyme.
Poetry has associations with music in that it is sometimes perceived as being musical in quality due to the language that is used. This is mostly found when metre, rhythm and alliteration are applied and assonance, consonance, refrain and dissonance are used.
One reader may interpret a poem differently to another; it is an open book as far as this is concerned. Poets need to choose and select words carefully to give meaning to what they want to convey in a poem. Some may let words emerge as they write without thinking too much about the words which practice could stifle their creative outpouring.
Prose is different to poetry in that it is the form of writing most used in articles, stories, plays, novels and many other types of writings. It may or may not include dialogue and is often written in the way a person would speak. Unlike poetry it does not make use of metre, verse or rhyme.
Modern-day Rap music is a form of poetry because it incorporates the usage of lines of spoken verse in songs.
Some examples of the different types of poetry are: Ballads, Elegy's, Epitaphs, Free Verse, Haiku's, Lyrics, Narratives, Odes and Sonnets.
A Definition of Some of the Terms Used Here
Metre - the primary rhythmic arrangement of a verse or the lines in a verse.
- Rhythm - the arrangement of long or short syllables in verse.
Rhyme - when two or more words in language have similar sounds.
Syllable - one or more letters that define a unit of language that consists of a single sound.
- Verse - a body of lines forming a unit in a poem or song.
Alliteration - the repetition of a consonant sound
- Consonant sound - a speech sound used in language that is not a vowel.
Assonance - the repetition of vowel sounds in words that are near to each other which emphasizes the meaning of words.
- Dissonance - a lack of harmony in words used to grab the readers attention, by breaking the flow of words.
Refrain - the repetition of a stanza or part of a stanza.
- Stanza - a group of lines in a poem which forms the standard recurring metrical unit in a poem.
A few other terms that are used in poetry are: euphony, simile and metaphor.
Euphony is the flowing, musical aspect of poetry where words are organised in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The poet attempts to use imagery and word structure that allows the reader to be caught up in the mood of what is being conveyed in the poem.
Simile is a figure of speech which compares one thing with another which makes the definition more striking and meaningful.
Metaphor is a figure of speech where one thing is used to represent something else. An example would be, 'every dark cloud has a silver lining'. (The dark cloud here refers to doom and gloom and the silver lining means that the outcome will be positive).
Poetry probably originated from storytelling before the written word came about, as a form of conveying information to others but in an artistic or musical kind of way.
There are many definitions of poetry and many more aspects to it; it truly is a wonderful way for men and women to express feelings, emotions in the written, spoken word.
This is a poem I wrote about the subject of change.
Ever changing times and circumstances, or those of the heart,
impact life’s long journey through the meandering path we tread,
along roads and avenues plain or steep with channels of endless decisions
to make whether right or wrong, we embrace them and live with the fruit they
bear both good and bad
Some who have lived long might say how it was then and is now,
often hankering for a time when the way was simpler, while different
values and morals spoke of things being so much more in order than now -
which speeding along hurtles towards enhancements in lifestyles, technology
and systems geared for outcomes both right and wrong
In our youth we knew no better, growing up with what was around us,
whether it was the era of LP records, Mp3 players, laptops, tablets or whatever,
it all made sense at the time, it was what we knew and we knew it well,
only as time passed by and age took over, perhaps we trailed behind some,
trying our best to keep up with a changing world bent on reaching new heights
And when circumstances change, a loss of a job, a broken marriage, ill health
or whatever turn in the road leads to something being suddenly different,
how to walk in a new direction, the emotions being thrown into confusion,
what to do when our life seems to be falling apart? - The room grows dark
though it seems as if the sun shines brightly on the world outside
How to pick yourself up, move on; whom to approach for sage advice; that you
can get over this hurdle, this stumbling block that appeared so unexpectedly?
What is the best course of action to take, you ask yourself and others?
The solution may arrive soon or can take an age to unfold and be revealed,
perhaps never entirely, but at least you can be reassured that life goes on
Around the corner there may be bright sunshine, or muddy skies still linger
we strive on; conquering our fears and finding ways to cope, perhaps even thrive -
when a good season whisks us away into a kind of heavenly state,
climb on the cloud, we’re on our way and nothing can harm us,
bright shining stars illuminate the night sky blotting out all darkness
Or when we have a change of heart and mind; our hearts suddenly softened,
the things that irked us, that blew our bubble are now seen in a different light,
hatred and anger no longer lurk inside, we see with new eyes, as if with the heart,
even if what we saw was wrong, we acknowledge it but want to move on,
to find common ground, move into a space that is both sound and profound
The earth keeps turning, keeps moving majestically in its course around the sun,
like little ants seen from a distance we start and stumble, fly along and fumble,
all the time making improvements: testing, probing, prying - learning from mistakes,
thinking we’re so advanced, yet there’s so much more to come; what was so incredible
in times past, now redundant, a prized museum piece on show
Inevitable, unalterable change, whether over time, new circumstance, or something that
stirred inside us, we can never say life will always to be the same, and so it shouldn’t be,
lest we wait for an eternity for our perfect place in the sun; if we ourselves can change
while all around us things seem to be going asunder then the long journey was worth it
and may we sleep warm and well tonight.
A Painting by Ditz - The Sheperd's Hut, from 'Far From the Madding Crowd', by Thomas Hardy
Are You a Writer of Poetry?
© 2014 David Edward Lynch