Poems usually try to express their meaning in much less space than, say, a novel or even a short story. Alexander Pope once explained that he preferred to write poetry even when he wrote about philosophy because it enabled him to express himself more briefly (Pope, Preface to An Essay on Man, 1734). As a result of its relative brevity, poetry tends to make more concentrated use of formal elements, it displays a tendency for structural, phonological, morphological and syntactic overstraining, a concept which originated in formalist and structuralism criticism.
It means that poetry uses elements such as sound patterns, verse and meter, rhetorical devices, style, stanza form or imagery more frequently than other types of text. Obviously, not all poems use all these elements and not all verse is poetry, as John Hollander remarks (Hollander 2001: 1). Especially odder poets deliberately flaunt reader expectations about poetic language (see the found poem’ in Chi. 1. 2. ). Nonetheless, most poetry depends on the aesthetic effects of a formalized use of language. Some people associate poetry with subjectivity and the expression of intense personal experience.
While this is true for some poetry, especially lyrical poetry, there are a great number of poems this does not apply to; for example narrative poems like Coot’s Marion or didactic and philosophical poems like Pope’s Essay on Man or John Philips’ Cider. Just as it is often misleading to identify the author of a novel with its narrator, one should not assume that the author of a poem is identical with its speaker and thus even lyrical poems cannot be treated as subjective expressions of the author. The two levels of author and speaker should always be kept separate.
The communication situation in poetry is very similar to the one in prose, except that poetry very often does not include dialogue, thus the inner box is optional: Basics of English Studies, Version 12/03, Poetry 142 POEM author speaker (character who speaks) (character who listens) addressee (optional) actual reader Code/Message Searching for a definition of poetry, other readers look for ‘universal truth’ or some other deeper meaning in poetry more than in prose, the famous nineteenth-centum critic Matthew Arnold for instance (see Arnold 1880).
Again, while some poetry might very well deal with universal truths, this is probably not the case for all. There is no doubt some poetry which is very lovely and very popular but which, at bottom, is really neither very profound nor the expression of a universal truth. Take these line by Ben Johnson for instance, one of the most popular love songs in the last 400 years To Celia Drink to me only with thin eyes And I will pledge with mine; Or leave a kiss but in the cup, And I’ll not look for wine. The thirst that from the soul doth rise, Dot ask a drink divine: But might I of Cove’s nectar sup, I would not change for thin.
In fact, to expect statements of universal truth from poetry can be rather misleading if one deduces from this that what matters in a poem is somehow what lies behind the language and its use (for this problem see the discussion in Warren/Brooks 196 6-20), whereas modern criticism insists that form cannot be separated from mean (See also Theme Chi. 1. 5. ). It is difficult to answer the question What is Poetry? Conclusively, though most people are more or less able to recognize poetry when the see it. One recent critic has suggested the following criteria in answer to the quests What poetry? M;leer-cattleman 2000: 73-156): 143 Poetic texts have a tendency to ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; relative brevity (with some notable exceptions) dense expression express subjectivity more than other texts display a musical or kinglike quality be structurally and phonologically overeducated be syntactically and morphologically overeducated deviate from everyday language esthetics self-referentially (which means that they draw attention to themselves as s FRR art form both through the form in which they are written and thro references to the writing of poetry) With all the difficulties of defining poetry it is worth remembering especially in the form of song, is one of the oldest forms of artistic older than prose, and that it seems to answer – or to originate in – that reaches for expression in Joy, grief, doubt, hope, loneliness, an 4. 2. Types of Poetry When studying poetry, it is useful first of all to consider the theme development of the theme in the poem (see Chi. 1. . ). Obviously, the development that takes place depends to a considerable extent on one is dealing with. It is useful to keep two general distinctions in detailed definitions consult Abram 1999 and Premiering et al 1993 narrative poetry.
Key terms: ; lyric poetry ; elegy ; ode ; sonnet ; dry ; occasional poetry ; ophthalmic ; narrative poetry ; epic ; mock- descriptive poetry ; dramatic poetry ; didactic poetry ; processed et 4. 2. 1. Lyric Poetry A lyric poem is a comparatively short, non-narrative poem in which presents a state of mind or an emotional state. Lyric poetry retains elements of song which is said to be its origin: For Greek writers the accompanied by the lyre. Subcategories of the lyric are, for example sonnet and dramatic monologue and most occasional poetry: In m is a formal lament for the death of a particular person (for example Memoriam A. H. H. ).
More broadly defined, the term elegy is also us meditations often on questions of death, such as Gravy’s Elegy Wrist Churchyard. An ode is a long lyric poem with a serious subject writ style. Famous examples are Wordsmith’s Hymn to Duty or Keats’ Urn. The sonnet was originally a love poem which dealt with the I and hopes. It originated in Italy and became popular in England in English Studies, Version 12/03, Poetry 144 Renaissance, when Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey translate sonnets written by Patriarch (Patriarchate sonnet). From the seventeen onwards the sonnet was also used for other topics than love, for in religious experience (by Done and Milton), reflections on art (by K even the war experience (by Brooke or Owen).
The sonnet uses a is (usually) fourteen lines and an intricate rhyme pattern (see stanza Many poets wrote a series of sonnets linked by the same theme, s cycles (for instance Patriarch, Spencer, Shakespeare, Dragoon, Barrel Meredith) which depict the various stages of a love relationship. In monologue a speaker, who is explicitly someone other than the taut speech to a silent auditor in a specific situation and at a critical m intending to do so, the speaker reveals aspects of his temperament Borrowing’s My Last Duchess for instance, the Duke shows the picture of his last wife to the emissary from his prospective new wife and reveals his excessive pride in his position and his Jealous temperament.
Occasional poetry is written for a specific occasion: a wedding (then it is called an ophthalmic, for instance Spender’s Ophthalmic), the return of a king from exile (for instance Dryness Anus Memorabilia) or a death (for example Million’s Lucidly), etc. 4. 2. 2. Narrative Poetry Narrative poetry gives a verbal representation, in verse, of a sequence of connected events, it propels characters through a plot. It is always told by a narrator (see narrator in narrative prose). Narrative poems might tell of a love story (like Tennyson Maude), the story of a father and son (like Wordsmith’s Michael) or the deeds of a hero or heroine (like Walter Coot’s Lay of the Last Minstrel). Sub- disagrees of narrative poetry are for example: epic, mock-epic or ballad.
Epics usually operate on a large scale, both in length and topic, such as the founding of a nation (Virgin’s Amended) or the beginning of world history (Million’s Paradise Lost), they tend to use an elevated style of language and supernatural beings take part in the action. The mock-epic makes use of epic conventions, like the elevated style and the assumption that the topic is of great importance, to deal with completely insignificant occurrences. A famous example is Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, which tells the story f a young beauty whose suitor secretly cuts off a lock of her hair. A ballad is a song, originally transmitted orally, which tells a story. It is an important form of folk poetry which was adapted for literary uses from the sixteenth century onwards. The ballad stanza is usually a four-line stanza, alternating tetrameter and trimester (see also ballad stanza Chi. 4. 5. ). 145 4. 2. 3.
Descriptive and Didactic Poetry Both lyric and narrative poetry can contain lengthy and detailed descriptions (descriptive poetry) or scenes in direct speech (dramatic poetry). The purpose of a didactic poem is primarily to teach something. This can take the form of very specific instructions, such as how to catch a fish, as in James Thomson The Seasons (Spring 379-442) or how to write good poetry as in Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism. But it can also be meant as instructive in a general way. Until the twentieth century all literature was expected to have a didactic purpose in a general sense, that is, to impart moral, theoretical or even practical knowledge; Horace famously demanded that poetry should combine processed (learning) and delectate (pleasure).
The twentieth century was more reluctant to proclaim literature openly as a teaching tool. . 3. Prosodic Features: Meter and Rhythm Prosody is the study of speech rhythms and versification. Most poetry is a rhythmical utterance, that is to say, it makes use of rhythmic elements that are natural to language: alternation of stress and non-stress, vowel length, consonant clusters, pauses and so on. Various rhythmical patterns have different effects on those who read or hear poetry. The central question for the analysis of meter and rhythm is to determine the function which these rhythmical elements perform in each poem. Unfortunately, there are no general rules about these functions.
Once a specific pattern has been identified, its function needs to be determined for each text and context individually (see also isotope Chi. 1. 5. ). Key terms: ; prosody ; meter ; accentual meter ; accentual-syllabic meter ; syllabic meter ; free verse ; scansion ; nursery rhymes ; Old English Poetry ; sprung rhythm ; rap ; Haiku ; foot ; iamb ; trochee ; dactyl ; anapest ; spooned ; alexandrine ; scansion ; metric foot ; mastication principle ; metrical grid ; interplay 4. 3. 1. Meter Meter is the measured arrangement of accents and syllables in poetry. In any kind of utterance we stress certain syllables and not others.