Outline of poetry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to poetry:

Poetry – a form of art in which language is used for its aesthetic qualities, in addition to, or instead of, its apparent meaning.

What type of thing is poetry?[edit]

Poetry can be described as all of the following things:

  • One of the arts – as an art form, poetry is an outlet of human expression, that is usually influenced by culture and which in turn helps to change culture. Poetry is a physical manifestation of the internal human creative impulse.
    • A form of literature – literature is composition, that is, written or oral work such as books, stories, and poems.
    • Fine art – in Western European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily for aesthetics, distinguishing it from applied art that also has to serve some practical function. The word "fine" here does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline according to traditional Western European canons.

Types of poetry[edit]

Common poetic forms[edit]

  • Epic – lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Milman Parry and Albert Lord have argued that the Homeric epics, the earliest works of Western literature, were fundamentally an oral poetic form. These works form the basis of the epic genre in Western literature.
  • Sonnet – poetic form which originated in Italy; Giacomo Da Lentini is credited with its invention.
  • Jintishi – literally "Modern Poetry", was actually composed from the 5th century onwards and is considered to have been fully developed by the early Tang dynasty. The works were principally written in five- and seven-character lines and involve constrained tone patterns, intended to balance the four tones of Middle Chinese within each couplet.
  • Villanelle – nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. The villanelle is an example of a fixed verse form.
  • Tanka – a classical Japanese poem, composed in Japanese (rather than Chinese, as with kanshi)
  • Ode – a poem written in praise of a person (e.g. Psyche), thing (e.g. a Grecian urn), or event
  • Ghazal – an Arabic poetic form with rhyming couplets and a refrain, each line in the same meter
  • Haiku – a poem, normally in Japanese but also in other languages (particularly English), normally with 17 syllables arranged as 5 + 7 + 5
  • Free verse - an open form of poetry which does not use consistent meter patterns or rhyme, tending to follow the rhythm of natural speech

Periods, styles and movements[edit]

History of poetry[edit]

History of poetry – the earliest poetry is believed to have been recited or sung, such as in the form of hymns (such as the work of Sumerian priestess Enheduanna), and employed as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy, and law. Many of the poems surviving from the ancient world are recorded prayers, or stories about religious subject matter, but they also include historical accounts, instructions for everyday activities, love songs, and fiction.

Elements of poetry[edit]

Methods of creating rhythm[edit]

Scanning meter[edit]

  • spondee – two stressed syllables together
  • iamb – unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable
  • trochee – one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable
  • dactyl – one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables
  • anapest – two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable

The number of metrical feet in a line are described in Greek terminology as follows:

Common metrical patterns[edit]

Rhyme, alliteration and assonance[edit]

Rhyming schemes[edit]

Stanzas and verse paragraphs[edit]

Poetic diction[edit]


Some famous poets and their poems[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Two versions of Paradise Lost are freely available on-line from Project Guttenberg, Project Gutenberg text version 1 and Project Gutenberg text version 2
  2. ^ The original text, as translated by Samuel Butler, is available at Wikisource.s:The Iliad
  3. ^ The full text is available online both in Russian [1] and as translated into English by Charles Johnston.[2] Please see the pages on Eugene Onegin and on Nabokov's Notes on Prosody and the references on those pages for discussion of the problems of translation and of the differences between Russian and English iambic tetrameter.
  4. ^ The full text of "The Raven" is available at Wikisource s:The Raven (Poe)
  5. ^ The full text of "The Hunting of the Snark" is available at Wikisource.s:The Hunting of the Snark
  6. ^ The full text of Don Juan is available on-line Archived 2006-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ See the Text of the play in French as well as an English translation,
    • Phaedra at Project Gutenberg

Further reading[edit]

  • Richard Abcarian (15 July 2016). Literature: The Human Experience with 2016 MLA Update. Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN 978-1-319-08812-5.

External links[edit]