History[ edit ] The oldest love poem. Sumerian terracotta tablet from Nippur, Iraq. Ancient Orient Museum, Istanbul Main articles:
Anarchist presses published an enormous quantity of verse—indeed, before they published more poetry than all other forms of creative writing put together. Perhaps in some hypothetical beginning of things it was the only way of using language or simply was language tout court, prose being the derivative and younger rival.
Both poetry and language are fashionably thought to have belonged to ritual in early agricultural societies; and poetry in particular, it has been claimed, arose at first in the form of magical spells recited to ensure a good harvest.
Whatever the truth of this hypothesisit blurs a useful distinction: Formally, poetry is recognizable by its greater dependence on at least one more parameterthe line, than appears in prose composition.
That is a minimal definition but perhaps not altogether uninformative. It may be all that ought to be attempted in the way of a definition: Poetry is the way it is because it looks that way, and it looks that way because it sounds that way and vice versa.
That is, if an individual asks for a definition of poetry, it will most certainly not be the case that he has never seen one of the objects called poems that are said to embody poetry; on the contrary, he is already tolerably certain what poetry in the main is, and his reason for wanting a definition is either that his certainty has been challenged by someone else or that he wants to take care of a possible or seeming exception to it: Sensible things have been said on the question.
Eliot suggested that part of the difficulty lies in the fact that there is the technical term verse to go with the term poetry, while there is no equivalent technical term to distinguish the mechanical part of prose and make the relation symmetrical.
American poet Robert Frost said shrewdly that poetry was what got left behind in translationwhich suggests a criterion of almost scientific refinement: And yet to even so acute a definition the obvious exception is a startling and a formidable one: There may be a better way of putting the question by the simple test alluded to above.
When people are presented with a series of passages drawn indifferently from poems and stories but all printed as prose, they will show a dominant inclination to identify everything they possibly can as prose.
This will be true, surprisingly enough, even if the poem rhymes and will often be true even if the poem in its original typographical arrangement would have been familiar to them. The reason seems to be absurdly plain: It should be added that they make this distinction also without reading aloud; even in silence they confer upon a piece of poetry an attention that differs from what they give to prose in two ways especially: Major differences In place of further worrying over definitions, it may be both a relief and an illumination to exhibit certain plain and mighty differences between prose and poetry by a comparison.
In the following passages a prose writer and a poet are talking about the same subject, growing older. Between the ages of 30 and 90, the weight of our muscles falls by 30 percent and the power we can exert likewise…. The number of nerve fibres in a nerve trunk falls by a quarter.
The weight of our brains falls from an average of 3. First, the cold friction of expiring sense Without enchantment, offering no promise But bitter tastelessness of shadow fruit As body and soul begin to fall asunder.
Second, the conscious impotence of rage At human folly, and the laceration Of laughter at what ceases to amuse.
And last, the rending pain of re-enactment Of all that you have done, and been…. Before objecting that a simple comparison cannot possibly cover all the possible ranges of poetry and prose compared, the reader should consider for a moment what differences are exhibited.
The passages are oddly parallel, hence comparable, even in a formal sense; for both consist of the several items of a catalog under the general title of growing old.
The significant differences are of tone, pace, and object of attention. If the prose passage interests itself in the neutral, material, measurable properties of the process, while the poetry interests itself in what the process will signify to someone going through it, that is not accidental but of the essence; if one reads the prose passage with an interest in being informed, noting the parallel constructions without being affected by them either in tone or in pace, while reading the poetry with a sense of considerable gravity and solemnity, that too is of the essence.
The number of nerve fibres in a nerve trunk falls by a quarter As body and soul begin to fall asunder It should be specified here that the important differences exhibited by the comparison belong to the present age. In each period, speaking for poetry in English at any rate, the dividing line will be seen to come at a different place.
In Elizabethan times the diction of prose was much closer to that of poetry than it later became, and in the 18th century authors saw nothing strange about writing in couplets about subjects that later would automatically and compulsorily belong to prose—for example, horticulture, botany, even dentistry.
Here is not the place for entering into a discussion of so rich a chapter in the history of ideas; but the changes involved in the relation of poetry and prose are vast, and the number of ways people can describe and view the world are powerfully influenced by developments in science and society.
Poetic diction and experience Returning to the comparison, it is observable that though the diction of the poem is well within what could be commanded by a moderately well-educated speaker, it is at the same time well outside the range of terms in fact employed by such a speaker in daily occasions; it is a diction very conscious, as it were, of its power of choosing terms with an effect of peculiar precision and of combining the terms into phrases with the same effect of peculiar precision and also of combining sounds with the same effect of peculiar precision.
I learnt from him, that Poetry, even that of the loftiest and, seemingly, that of the wildest odes, had a logic of its own, as severe as that of science; and more difficult, because more subtle, more complex, and dependent on more, and more fugitive causes.
In the truly great poets, he would say, there is a reason assignable, not only for every word, but for the position of every word. Biographia Literariachapter 1. It might be objected that this little verse is not of sufficient import and weight to serve as an exemplar for poetry.
It ought to be remembered, though, that it has given people pleasure so that they continued to say it until and after it was written down, nearly two centuries ago.What Is Poetry - This section contains a definition of poetry, poetry is quotes, and other helpful definitions for beginning poets.
Poetry Quotes - An enjoyable collection of famous poetry quotes along with quotes from previous Shadow Poets. Traditional Poetry Forms - Displays a handful of traditional poetry forms. Most of the definitions have at least one example of each particular type of.
Definition of Metaphysical Poetry. You've probably heard of haikus, lyrical poems and limericks. All of those types of poetry have specific qualities that allow us to group them together.
Poetry definition: Poems, considered as a form of literature, are referred to as poetry. | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples. Jun 28, · Poetry: Poetry, literature that evokes a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or an emotional response through language chosen and arranged for its meaning, sound, and rhythm.
Poetry definition, the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts. See more.
In this lesson, we will explore the idea of rhythm, or beat, in poetry. Every poem that is not free verse has a type of rhythm. We also call that.