The Art of Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art which uses language in an artistic and eye-catching form. The earliest poem in existence is the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was published in ancient Mesopotamia, and was written around the third Millennium Before Christ. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a piece of literary art that tells the story of the Mesopotamian hero, Gilgamesh and his relationship with a friend. The bible is full of poetry. The Book of Psalms is a collection of poems and hymns in praise of God written by the biblical King David. The Greeks, too, have their own epic poems. The Odyssey, written by the ancient Greek poet, Homer, (Not Homer Simpson) but the legendary Greek poet, depicts the life of Odysseus. This epic poem was written in the 8th century. Homer's first epic poem is the Iliad, a story about the final years of the siege of Troy and depicts the story of Achilles, the mighty Greek warrior and his fury towards the King Mycenae. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle wrote Poetics to depict his views about poetry. In his work he mentions three types of poetic genres or types.....Comedy, drama, and the tragedy.
The use of poetic devises or styles such as assonance, personification, simile, metaphor, rhythm, alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhyme help shape poems, and emphasize emotions and also increasing the poem's literal meaning.
Let's look at certain elements or composition of a poem:
Rhythm is a dancer so the song goes. What gives the poem momentum is the element of rhythm. Rhythm is the way each line in a poem resonates the words within a set language in a sing-song pattern. Some call this pattern metre. Rhythm is how the lines within a poem flow. This resonance is set by patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of verse. The most notorious metre is the iambic pentameter made famous by William Shakespeare. The Iamb is a set of five unstressed and stressed syllables in a line of verse. The sets of syllables within a line of poetry are called feet. Incidentally it is said that the English languish is naturally spoken in iambic pentameter.
1 2 3 4 5
´ ˘ / ´ ˘ / ´ ˘ / ´ ˘ / ´ ˘
Five sets of iambs (one unstressed followed by one stressed syllable within a line of verse.
The poem would sound something like this:
Da-DUM/ da-DUM/ da-DUM/ da-DUM/ da-DUM
Rhyme is the element in poetry where the repetition of different words using similar-sounding words are used within a poem particularly end-words within a stanza of poetry. A couplet is a short two line stanza of rhymed end words. This form of rhyme exists within the Sonnet.
Now, my dear...I bid you a sad goodbye.
I bet you never knew that a rose could fly.
From Wilted Rose by Mary Aris © 2008
Rhyme scheme is the pattern of end-rhymes within a poem.
ABAB CDCD EFEF GG is the typical rhyme-scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet, a traditional fourteen line poem written in iambic pentameter.
Alliteration is the element of poetry is a repetition of the first words within a line of poetry:
Little Lila Lou, sang a silly song today.
By the babbling brook in yonder field
I spied my love lavishly lusting after me;
Under the swanky Swansea sycamore tree concealed,
Earnestly yearning each other voraciously
From Under the Swanky Swansea Sycamore Tree
By Mary Aris ©2008
Simile is an element of poetry that makes an analogy between two unlike things with the use of the word like.
Her hair was like the silk of the Orient,
Luxuriously smooth and black like the velvet y cloak of night.
Like an angel she was heaven scent
To make the darkest days merry and bright;
The Metaphor, like the Simile is an analogy of two different things except that it does not use the word like.
Her eyes, two shining stars twinkling in space.....
Two sapphires adorning the beauty of her face;
Here we are comparing a lady's eyes with stars twinkling in the heavens, and two Sapphires enhancing the lady's face.
Personification is the element of poetry that personifies an inanimate object and makes it life-like.
The sun danced upon the heavens on that day,
The moon played the violin,
The sky sang in harmony
Delighted All of Nature joined right in.
Assonance is the element of poetry that repeats vowel sounds in order to make internal rhymes.
Listen to My Kitten meowing merrily
Consonance is the repetition of consonants between words within a line of poetry:
The mammals all clapped in unison.
Onomatopoeia is the element in poetry where words imitate the sound they depict.
The bee buzzed; the glasses clinked.
Meow, went the cat.