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Numerous modernist poets have written in non-traditional forms or in what traditionally would have been considered prose, although their writing was generally infused with poetic diction and often with rhythm and tone established by non-metrical means.
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While there was a substantial formalist reaction within the modernist schools to the breakdown of structure, this reaction focused as much on the development of new formal structures and syntheses as on the revival of older forms and structures. Recently, [ when? Postmodernism goes beyond modernism's emphasis on the creative role of the poet, to emphasize the role of the reader of a text hermeneutics , and to highlight the complex cultural web within which a poem is read.
The early 21st-century poetic tradition appears to continue to strongly orient itself to earlier precursor poetic traditions such as those initiated by Whitman , Emerson , and Wordsworth. The literary critic Geoffrey Hartman used the phrase "the anxiety of demand" to describe the contemporary response to older poetic traditions as "being fearful that the fact no longer has a form",  building on a trope introduced by Emerson.
Emerson had maintained that in the debate concerning poetic structure where either "form" or "fact" could predominate, that one need simply "Ask the fact for the form. Prosody is the study of the meter, rhythm , and intonation of a poem. Rhythm and meter are different, although closely related. Prosody also may be used more specifically to refer to the scanning of poetic lines to show meter.
The methods for creating poetic rhythm vary across languages and between poetic traditions. Languages are often described as having timing set primarily by accents , syllables , or moras , depending on how rhythm is established, though a language can be influenced by multiple approaches. Japanese is a mora -timed language. Stress-timed languages include English , Russian and, generally, German. Languages can rely on either pitch or tone. Some languages with a pitch accent are Vedic Sanskrit or Ancient Greek. Tonal languages include Chinese, Vietnamese and most Subsaharan languages.
Metrical rhythm generally involves precise arrangements of stresses or syllables into repeated patterns called feet within a line. In Modern English verse the pattern of stresses primarily differentiate feet, so rhythm based on meter in Modern English is most often founded on the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables alone or elided. The chief device of ancient Hebrew Biblical poetry , including many of the psalms , was parallelism , a rhetorical structure in which successive lines reflected each other in grammatical structure, sound structure, notional content, or all three.
Parallelism lent itself to antiphonal or call-and-response performance, which could also be reinforced by intonation. Thus, Biblical poetry relies much less on metrical feet to create rhythm, but instead creates rhythm based on much larger sound units of lines, phrases and sentences. Certain forms of poetry placed constraints on which syllables were required to be level and which oblique.
The formal patterns of meter used in Modern English verse to create rhythm no longer dominate contemporary English poetry. In the case of free verse , rhythm is often organized based on looser units of cadence rather than a regular meter. Robinson Jeffers , Marianne Moore , and William Carlos Williams are three notable poets who reject the idea that regular accentual meter is critical to English poetry.
In the Western poetic tradition, meters are customarily grouped according to a characteristic metrical foot and the number of feet per line. This metric system originated in ancient Greek poetry , and was used by poets such as Pindar and Sappho , and by the great tragedians of Athens. Similarly, " dactylic hexameter ", comprises six feet per line, of which the dominant kind of foot is the " dactyl ".
Dactylic hexameter was the traditional meter of Greek epic poetry , the earliest extant examples of which are the works of Homer and Hesiod. There are a wide range of names for other types of feet, right up to a choriamb , a four syllable metric foot with a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables and closing with a stressed syllable. The choriamb is derived from some ancient Greek and Latin poetry.
Each of these types of feet has a certain "feel," whether alone or in combination with other feet. The iamb, for example, is the most natural form of rhythm in the English language, and generally produces a subtle but stable verse. There is debate over how useful a multiplicity of different "feet" is in describing meter. For example, Robert Pinsky has argued that while dactyls are important in classical verse, English dactylic verse uses dactyls very irregularly and can be better described based on patterns of iambs and anapests, feet which he considers natural to the language.
Vladimir Nabokov noted that overlaid on top of the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of verse was a separate pattern of accents resulting from the natural pitch of the spoken words, and suggested that the term "scud" be used to distinguish an unaccented stress from an accented stress. Different traditions and genres of poetry tend to use different meters, ranging from the Shakespearean iambic pentameter and the Homeric dactylic hexameter to the anapestic tetrameter used in many nursery rhymes. However, a number of variations to the established meter are common, both to provide emphasis or attention to a given foot or line and to avoid boring repetition.
For example, the stress in a foot may be inverted, a caesura or pause may be added sometimes in place of a foot or stress , or the final foot in a line may be given a feminine ending to soften it or be replaced by a spondee to emphasize it and create a hard stop. Some patterns such as iambic pentameter tend to be fairly regular, while other patterns, such as dactylic hexameter, tend to be highly irregular. In addition, different patterns often develop distinctively in different languages, so that, for example, iambic tetrameter in Russian will generally reflect a regularity in the use of accents to reinforce the meter, which does not occur, or occurs to a much lesser extent, in English.
Rhyme, alliteration, assonance and consonance are ways of creating repetitive patterns of sound. They may be used as an independent structural element in a poem, to reinforce rhythmic patterns, or as an ornamental element. For example, Chaucer used heavy alliteration to mock Old English verse and to paint a character as archaic. Rhyme consists of identical "hard-rhyme" or similar "soft-rhyme" sounds placed at the ends of lines or at predictable locations within lines " internal rhyme ". Languages vary in the richness of their rhyming structures; Italian, for example, has a rich rhyming structure permitting maintenance of a limited set of rhymes throughout a lengthy poem.
The richness results from word endings that follow regular forms. English, with its irregular word endings adopted from other languages, is less rich in rhyme. Alliteration is the repetition of letters or letter-sounds at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals; or the recurrence of the same letter in accented parts of words. Alliteration and assonance played a key role in structuring early Germanic, Norse and Old English forms of poetry.
The alliterative patterns of early Germanic poetry interweave meter and alliteration as a key part of their structure, so that the metrical pattern determines when the listener expects instances of alliteration to occur. This can be compared to an ornamental use of alliteration in most Modern European poetry, where alliterative patterns are not formal or carried through full stanzas.
Alliteration is particularly useful in languages with less rich rhyming structures. Assonance, where the use of similar vowel sounds within a word rather than similar sounds at the beginning or end of a word, was widely used in skaldic poetry but goes back to the Homeric epic. Consonance provokes a more subtle effect than alliteration and so is less useful as a structural element. In many languages, including modern European languages and Arabic, poets use rhyme in set patterns as a structural element for specific poetic forms, such as ballads , sonnets and rhyming couplets.
However, the use of structural rhyme is not universal even within the European tradition. Much modern poetry avoids traditional rhyme schemes. Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. Some forms of poetry carry a consistent and well-defined rhyming scheme, such as the chant royal or the rubaiyat , while other poetic forms have variable rhyme schemes. Most rhyme schemes are described using letters that correspond to sets of rhymes, so if the first, second and fourth lines of a quatrain rhyme with each other and the third line do not rhyme, the quatrain is said to have an "aa-ba" rhyme scheme.
This rhyme scheme is the one used, for example, in the rubaiyat form. Poetic form is more flexible in modernist and post-modernist poetry and continues to be less structured than in previous literary eras. Many modern poets eschew recognizable structures or forms and write in free verse. But poetry remains distinguished from prose by its form; some regard for basic formal structures of poetry will be found in even the best free verse, however much such structures may appear to have been ignored.
Among major structural elements used in poetry are the line, the stanza or verse paragraph , and larger combinations of stanzas or lines such as cantos. Also sometimes used are broader visual presentations of words and calligraphy. These basic units of poetic form are often combined into larger structures, called poetic forms or poetic modes see the following section , as in the sonnet or haiku. Poetry is often separated into lines on a page, in a process known as lineation. These lines may be based on the number of metrical feet or may emphasize a rhyming pattern at the ends of lines.
Lines may serve other functions, particularly where the poem is not written in a formal metrical pattern. Lines can separate, compare or contrast thoughts expressed in different units, or can highlight a change in tone. Lines of poems are often organized into stanzas , which are denominated by the number of lines included. Thus a collection of two lines is a couplet or distich , three lines a triplet or tercet , four lines a quatrain , and so on. These lines may or may not relate to each other by rhyme or rhythm.
For example, a couplet may be two lines with identical meters which rhyme or two lines held together by a common meter alone. Other poems may be organized into verse paragraphs , in which regular rhymes with established rhythms are not used, but the poetic tone is instead established by a collection of rhythms, alliterations, and rhymes established in paragraph form.
In many forms of poetry, stanzas are interlocking, so that the rhyming scheme or other structural elements of one stanza determine those of succeeding stanzas. Examples of such interlocking stanzas include, for example, the ghazal and the villanelle , where a refrain or, in the case of the villanelle, refrains is established in the first stanza which then repeats in subsequent stanzas. Related to the use of interlocking stanzas is their use to separate thematic parts of a poem.
For example, the strophe , antistrophe and epode of the ode form are often separated into one or more stanzas. In some cases, particularly lengthier formal poetry such as some forms of epic poetry, stanzas themselves are constructed according to strict rules and then combined. In addition to two or three alliterations, the odd-numbered lines had partial rhyme of consonants with dissimilar vowels, not necessarily at the beginning of the word; the even lines contained internal rhyme in set syllables not necessarily at the end of the word.
Each half-line had exactly six syllables, and each line ended in a trochee. Even before the advent of printing, the visual appearance of poetry often added meaning or depth. Acrostic poems conveyed meanings in the initial letters of lines or in letters at other specific places in a poem. With the advent of printing , poets gained greater control over the mass-produced visual presentations of their work. Visual elements have become an important part of the poet's toolbox, and many poets have sought to use visual presentation for a wide range of purposes. Some Modernist poets have made the placement of individual lines or groups of lines on the page an integral part of the poem's composition.
At times, this complements the poem's rhythm through visual caesuras of various lengths, or creates juxtapositions so as to accentuate meaning, ambiguity or irony , or simply to create an aesthetically pleasing form. In its most extreme form, this can lead to concrete poetry or asemic writing. Poetic diction treats the manner in which language is used, and refers not only to the sound but also to the underlying meaning and its interaction with sound and form.
Poetic diction can include rhetorical devices such as simile and metaphor , as well as tones of voice, such as irony. Aristotle wrote in the Poetics that "the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. Allegorical stories are central to the poetic diction of many cultures, and were prominent in the West during classical times, the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Aesop's Fables , repeatedly rendered in both verse and prose since first being recorded about BCE, are perhaps the richest single source of allegorical poetry through the ages.
Rather than being fully allegorical, however, a poem may contain symbols or allusions that deepen the meaning or effect of its words without constructing a full allegory. Another element of poetic diction can be the use of vivid imagery for effect.
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The juxtaposition of unexpected or impossible images is, for example, a particularly strong element in surrealist poetry and haiku. Many poetic dictions use repetitive phrases for effect, either a short phrase such as Homer's "rosy-fingered dawn" or "the wine-dark sea" or a longer refrain. Such repetition can add a somber tone to a poem, or can be laced with irony as the context of the words changes. Specific poetic forms have been developed by many cultures. In more developed, closed or "received" poetic forms, the rhyming scheme, meter and other elements of a poem are based on sets of rules, ranging from the relatively loose rules that govern the construction of an elegy to the highly formalized structure of the ghazal or villanelle.
Additional forms of poetry may be found in the discussions of the poetry of particular cultures or periods and in the glossary. Among the most common forms of poetry, popular from the Late Middle Ages on, is the sonnet, which by the 13th century had become standardized as fourteen lines following a set rhyme scheme and logical structure. By the 14th century and the Italian Renaissance , the form had further crystallized under the pen of Petrarch , whose sonnets were translated in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Wyatt , who is credited with introducing the sonnet form into English literature.
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By convention, sonnets in English typically use iambic pentameter , while in the Romance languages , the hendecasyllable and Alexandrine are the most widely used meters. Sonnets of all types often make use of a volta , or "turn," a point in the poem at which an idea is turned on its head, a question is answered or introduced , or the subject matter is further complicated. This volta can often take the form of a "but" statement contradicting or complicating the content of the earlier lines. In the Petrarchan sonnet, the turn tends to fall around the division between the first two quatrains and the sestet, while English sonnets usually place it at or near the beginning of the closing couplet.
Sonnets are particularly associated with high poetic diction, vivid imagery, and romantic love, largely due to the influence of Petrarch as well as of early English practitioners such as Edmund Spenser who gave his name to the Spenserian sonnet , Michael Drayton , and Shakespeare, whose sonnets are among the most famous in English poetry, with twenty being included in the Oxford Book of English Verse. Further, postmodern authors such as Ted Berrigan and John Berryman have challenged the traditional definitions of the sonnet form, rendering entire sequences of "sonnets" that often lack rhyme, a clear logical progression, or even a consistent count of fourteen lines.
In all cases, rhyming is obligatory. The Yuefu is a folk ballad or a poem written in the folk ballad style, and the number of lines and the length of the lines could be irregular. For the other variations of shi poetry, generally either a four line quatrain, or jueju or else an eight-line poem is normal; either way with the even numbered lines rhyming. The line length is scanned by an according number of characters according to the convention that one character equals one syllable , and are predominantly either five or seven characters long, with a caesura before the final three syllables.
The lines are generally end-stopped, considered as a series of couplets, and exhibit verbal parallelism as a key poetic device. Among its other rules, the jintishi rules regulate the tonal variations within a poem, including the use of set patterns of the four tones of Middle Chinese. The basic form of jintishi sushi has eight lines in four couplets, with parallelism between the lines in the second and third couplets.
The couplets with parallel lines contain contrasting content but an identical grammatical relationship between words. Jintishi often have a rich poetic diction, full of allusion , and can have a wide range of subject, including history and politics. The villanelle is a nineteen-line poem made up of five triplets with a closing quatrain; the poem is characterized by having two refrains, initially used in the first and third lines of the first stanza, and then alternately used at the close of each subsequent stanza until the final quatrain, which is concluded by the two refrains.
The remaining lines of the poem have an a-b alternating rhyme. Auden ,  and Elizabeth Bishop. A limerick is a poem that consists of five lines and is often humorous. Rhythm is very important in limericks for the first, second and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables.
However, the third and fourth lines only need five to seven. All of the lines must rhyme and have the same rhythm. Tanka is a form of unrhymed Japanese poetry , with five sections totalling 31 onji phonological units identical to morae , structured in a pattern. Tanka were written as early as the Asuka period by such poets as Kakinomoto no Hitomaro fl.
By the tenth century, tanka had become the dominant form of Japanese poetry, to the point where the originally general term waka "Japanese poetry" came to be used exclusively for tanka. Tanka are still widely written today. Haiku is a popular form of unrhymed Japanese poetry, which evolved in the 17th century from the hokku , or opening verse of a renku.
Traditionally, haiku contain a kireji , or cutting word, usually placed at the end of one of the poem's three sections, and a kigo , or season-word. An example of his writing: . This was likely derived from when the Thai language had three tones as opposed to today's five, a split which occurred during the Ayutthaya Kingdom period , two of which corresponded directly to the aforementioned marks.
It is usually regarded as an advanced and sophisticated poetic form. The two differ in the number of syllables in the second wak of the final bat and inter-stanza rhyming rules. It has four bat per stanza si translates as four. The first wak of each bat has five syllables. The second wak has two or four syllables in the first and third bat , two syllables in the second, and four syllables in the fourth. Mai ek is required for seven syllables and Mai tho is required for four, as shown below.
Odes were first developed by poets writing in ancient Greek, such as Pindar , and Latin, such as Horace. Forms of odes appear in many of the cultures that were influenced by the Greeks and Latins. The antistrophes of the ode possess similar metrical structures and, depending on the tradition, similar rhyme structures. In contrast, the epode is written with a different scheme and structure. Odes have a formal poetic diction and generally deal with a serious subject. The strophe and antistrophe look at the subject from different, often conflicting, perspectives, with the epode moving to a higher level to either view or resolve the underlying issues.
Odes are often intended to be recited or sung by two choruses or individuals , with the first reciting the strophe, the second the antistrophe, and both together the epode. One non-Western form which resembles the ode is the qasida in Persian poetry. The ghazal also ghazel, gazel, gazal, or gozol is a form of poetry common in Arabic , Persian , Urdu and Bengali poetry. In classic form, the ghazal has from five to fifteen rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second line. This refrain may be of one or several syllables and is preceded by a rhyme.
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Each line has an identical meter. The ghazal often reflects on a theme of unattainable love or divinity. As with other forms with a long history in many languages, many variations have been developed, including forms with a quasi-musical poetic diction in Urdu. The relatively steady meter and the use of the refrain produce an incantatory effect, which complements Sufi mystical themes well. His life and poems have been the subject of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-fourteenth century Persian writing more than any other author. In addition to specific forms of poems, poetry is often thought of in terms of different genres and subgenres.
A poetic genre is generally a tradition or classification of poetry based on the subject matter, style, or other broader literary characteristics. Others view the study of genres as the study of how different works relate and refer to other works. Narrative poetry is a genre of poetry that tells a story. Broadly it subsumes epic poetry , but the term "narrative poetry" is often reserved for smaller works, generally with more appeal to human interest.
Narrative poetry may be the oldest type of poetry. Many scholars of Homer have concluded that his Iliad and Odyssey were composed of compilations of shorter narrative poems that related individual episodes. Much narrative poetry—such as Scottish and English ballads , and Baltic and Slavic heroic poems—is performance poetry with roots in a preliterate oral tradition. It has been speculated that some features that distinguish poetry from prose, such as meter, alliteration and kennings , once served as memory aids for bards who recited traditional tales.
Lyric poetry is a genre that, unlike epic and dramatic poetry, does not attempt to tell a story but instead is of a more personal nature. Poems in this genre tend to be shorter, melodic, and contemplative. Rather than depicting characters and actions, it portrays the poet's own feelings , states of mind , and perceptions. Vincent Millay. Epic poetry is a genre of poetry, and a major form of narrative literature. This genre is often defined as lengthy poems concerning events of a heroic or important nature to the culture of the time.
It recounts, in a continuous narrative, the life and works of a heroic or mythological person or group of persons. While the composition of epic poetry, and of long poems generally, became less common in the west after the early 20th century, some notable epics have continued to be written. Derek Walcott won a Nobel prize to a great extent on the basis of his epic, Omeros.
Poetry can be a powerful vehicle for satire. The Romans had a strong tradition of satirical poetry, often written for political purposes. A notable example is the Roman poet Juvenal 's satires. The same is true of the English satirical tradition. An elegy is a mournful, melancholy or plaintive poem, especially a lament for the dead or a funeral song. The term "elegy," which originally denoted a type of poetic meter elegiac meter , commonly describes a poem of mourning. An elegy may also reflect something that seems to the author to be strange or mysterious.
The elegy, as a reflection on a death, on a sorrow more generally, or on something mysterious, may be classified as a form of lyric poetry. The fable is an ancient literary genre , often though not invariably set in verse. It is a succinct story that features anthropomorphized animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that illustrate a moral lesson a " moral ".
Verse fables have used a variety of meter and rhyme patterns. Dramatic poetry is drama written in verse to be spoken or sung, and appears in varying, sometimes related forms in many cultures. Greek tragedy in verse dates to the 6th century B. Speculative poetry, also known as fantastic poetry of which weird or macabre poetry is a major sub-classification , is a poetic genre which deals thematically with subjects which are "beyond reality", whether via extrapolation as in science fiction or via weird and horrific themes as in horror fiction.
Such poetry appears regularly in modern science fiction and horror fiction magazines. Edgar Allan Poe is sometimes seen as the "father of speculative poetry". Prose poetry is a hybrid genre that shows attributes of both prose and poetry. It may be indistinguishable from the micro-story a. Latin American poets of the 20th century who wrote prose poems include Octavio Paz and Giannina Braschi  . Light poetry, or light verse, is poetry that attempts to be humorous. Poems considered "light" are usually brief, and can be on a frivolous or serious subject, and often feature word play , including puns , adventurous rhyme and heavy alliteration.
Although a few free verse poets have excelled at light verse outside the formal verse tradition, light verse in English usually obeys at least some formal conventions. Common forms include the limerick , the clerihew , and the double dactyl. While light poetry is sometimes condemned as doggerel , or thought of as poetry composed casually, humor often makes a serious point in a subtle or subversive way.
Many of the most renowned "serious" poets have also excelled at light verse. Kennedy , Willard R. Espy , and Wendy Cope. Slam poetry as a genre originated in in Chicago , Illinois , when Marc Kelly Smith organized the first slam. Slam 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.
Slam poetry is often competitive, at dedicated " poetry slam " contests. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 23 September This article is about the art form. For other uses, see Poetry disambiguation. For other uses, see Poem disambiguation , Poems disambiguation , and Poetic disambiguation.
Form of literature. Main articles: History of poetry and Literary theory. The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this section , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Meter poetry. Main articles: Timing linguistics , tone linguistics , and Pitch accent. Main article: Scansion. Main articles: Rhyme , Alliterative verse , and Assonance.
Main article: Rhyme scheme. Main article: Line poetry. Main article: Visual poetry. Main article: Poetic diction. See also: Category: Poetic form. Main article: Sonnet.
Main article: Shi poetry. Main article: Villanelle. Main article: Limerick poetry. Main article: Tanka. Main article: Haiku. Main article: Thai poetry. Main article: Ode. Main article: Ghazal. Main article: Narrative poetry. Main article: Lyric poetry. Main article: Epic poetry.
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Main article: Elegy. Main article: Fable. Main article: Speculative poetry. Main article: Prose poetry. Main article: Light poetry. Main article: Poetry slam. This section needs expansion.
Although they are the only type directly related to melody, lyrical poetry is definitely not the only poetic form which can be made into a song. A good example of this is rap. Rap is made up of rhythm, rhyme, sometimes alliteration, and many other poetic attributes and techniques. It is the most likened to poetry, yet is still music, and one of the most popular forms as wel.
Nonetheless, even music without words is poetry, just not in the most recognized sense of the word. When someone mentions "poetry", the listener generally visualizes Emily Dickinson or John Donne. However, there have been other authors who have become famous by doing non-generalized works of writing. Cummings is a great example of non-traditional poetry. He experimented with fragmented lines, strange spellings, and single letters in a line.
Today, this type of poetry is known as Dada. Poetry is about flow, rhythm, meaning and expression. Instrumental music expresses, flows and shows just as much emotion as does music with words. In fact, many types of poems don't need words at all. Music, sounds, and even paintings are often described as poems.
If they have rhythm and structure, it's easy to describe them as works of poetry. After all, isn't that what poetry is? To go back on point, music is poetry. The difference between the two is so small that all that poetry needs is either a vocalist or instruments.