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Anti-poetry is an art movement that attempts to break away from the normal conventions of traditional poetry. Early proponents of anti-poetry include Nicanor Parra and Elias Petropoulos.

Parra, known as the father of anti-poetry, published his first collection of antipoems in 1954 (Poemas y antipoemas) and sought to reject the belief that verse holds any mystical power. The poems have been described as prose-like, irreverent, and illuminating the problems of human existence.[1]

Elias Petropoulos had tried to describe the art of Anti-poetry. This was in his “notebook” Indeed in Berlin; containing verses that included intentionally made mistakes in regard to prosody, grammar and rhyme. The inspiration for many of Mr. Petropoulos poems had been the harsh, and sad atmosphere of the wall divided German metropolis where he was residing. Mr. Petropoulos had long come to the conclusion that poetry about love and desires was becoming too gentle for the literature of modern age. Rather it was time to introduce anti-poetry by incorporating anti-sentimentalism feelings and reaction within poems.[2]

Early History[edit]

During 5th century B.C theatrical Sketches called Mimes were being introduced with ideas and languages that were determined to be Anti-plays. There had been times when poets would turn against his/her own poetry in an antagonistic way. Anti poetry can be found and cited from the first poets of Italy and also (Dante, follow by Petrarch) as well as some other places in Europe. They had made the decision to compose verses in vernacular rather than Latin; they were behaving in an anti-poetic manner. Many Playwrights which include both William Shakespeare and Moliere were some of the writers cited for using Anti-poetry within their work now and then in the midst of a verse play.[3]

Anti-Poetry is a way poets attempt to differentiate what is to be known as “normal” or “traditional” poetry. Oftentimes poems are stereotyped to be simple, sweet, romantic, etc. Anti-poetry is used to change that. Some anti-poetry poems are the reality that surrounds us every day. Poets use their words to make us open our eyes and realize everything we pretend not to see. “The poet who sees only those details that flatter our fondest hopes has one eye closed to reality. But no more so than the poet who sees only what is ugly or shocking.” (WW: pg 69) Reading poems can be misleading. Shakespeare is one of the many poets who used Anti-Poetry in his writings.

Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130″ and “Winter” are perfect examples of anti-poetry. (Western Wind: An Introduction To Poetry Pg’s. 68 & 71)

Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare "My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head ... And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare."

Winter by William Shakespeare "When icicles hang by the wall, And Dick the shepherd blows his nail, And Tom bears logs into the hall, And milk comes frozen home in pail, When blood is nipp’d, and ways be foul, Then nightly sings the staring owl, To-whit! To-who!—a merry note,"

David Mason, John F. Nims. Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry 5th ED. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Print.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1] "Parra, Nicanor: INTRODUCTION." Poetry Criticism. Ed. David Galens. Vol. 39. Thomson Gale, 2002. 2006. 7 Mar, 2007
  2. ^ Taylor, John. “Poetry Today.” EBSCOhost. N.p., june, 1 2009. Web. 23 Apr 2012. <>.
  3. ^ Taylor, John. “Poetry Today.” EBSCOhost. N.p., june, 1 2009. Web. 23 Apr 2012. <>.