Poetry is the first literary genre, because the first Anglo-Saxon literary works were passed on from generation to generation orally, and poetry, with its rhythm and musical qualities, was easier to learn by heart.
Poetry was born as an oral art generally accompanied by dancing and music and, as said before, is the oldest form of literature.
Typically people used it to express the most remarkable events in their lives or to convey the feelings associated with them.
-Basic Structural Units-
The structural units of Poetry are:
_the Line (the basic unit);
_the Stanza (a section of a poem which consists of several lines);
_the Canto or Book.
Stanzas can be different:
_two lines: Couplet;
_three lines: Tercet;
_four lines: Quatrain;
_five lines: Sestet;
_eight lines: Octave.
A complete Poem may consist of only two lines, while Narrative Poems may extend over thousands of lines.
-The Main Kinds of Poetry-
The Main Kinds of Poetry are Narrative and Epic, Dramatic, Satiric, and Lyric.
Narrative and Epic, Dramatic and Satiric Poetry tell a story in verse and may express a
Lyric Poems are generally very short and are used in almost every age.
-Fixed Forms of Poetry-
Some fixed forms are:
_the Elegy, which combines natural setting with poetic lamentation or speculation o
_the Ballad, used to express basic human emotions;
as love and hate or fear and wonder at physical and supernatural Worlds;
_the Ode, a quite long and complex Poem that consists in the celebration of an abstract concept.
-Important Elements in Poetry-
The Important Elements in Poetry are three: the Sound, the Visual Layout and the Language.
• Assonance: the repetition of the same vowel sound;
• Alliteration: the repetition of the same initial consonant sound in consecutive words;
• Repetition (or Refrain): the repetition of phrases or lines, maybe in order to create a musical effect.
• Onomatopoeia: a word whose sound illustrates its meaning;
• Enjambment (or Run-on-line): the breaking of a phrase in two lines;
• Rhythm and Stress: Rhythm is the organization of the Stress in a line;
• Metre and Feet: Metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse; Metre is measured in Feet, a sequence of syllable types;
• Rhyme: the last word of two or more lines has the same ending sound.
• Simile: comparison between two things, through the use of “like”, “as”, “than” or “resembles”. The function of a Simile are: to convey a more vivid idea of the scene or object, to make the meaning easier to understand, to introduce an element of surprise, to create an emotional response in the reader.
The “Tenor” is the subject of the Metaphor, the “Vehicle” is what the subject is compared to and the “Common Ground” is the analogy between them.
• Personification: attributes the characteristics of a living being to abstract things or to inanimate objects. It can be recognised by the use of the capital letter, of possessive adjectives, and of verbs referring to human actions.
• Symbol: is any thing, person, place, place or action that has a literal meaning and also stands for something else.
• Allegory: combines different symbols into a totality.
• Oxymoron: combination of two contradictory things.
• Hyperbole: exaggeration of something (quantity, quality, etc..).
• Litotes: contrary of Hyperbole, it’s a rhetorical understatement in which is used the negative of the opposite meaning.