How does one begin to define poetry? Officially, it is a form of literature that employs the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language in order to evoke meaning. Poetry is an art that is often thought of as a luxury, not a necessity in life. However, the poet is somewhat of a philosopher that adds insight into life's experiences and illustrates one person's perspective through poetical phrasing. Much can be gained from the wisdom of others and poetry serves as an apt vehicle of expression. Thus poetry uses the following elements to express meaning:
Yet poetry is far more than the sum of its parts.
Types of Poetry
Indeed, there are numerous different types of poetry. Sonnets, created by Petrarch and popularized by Shakespeare, which use iambic pentameter across 14 lines of structured rhyme. Sonnets traditionally are love poems. In contrast, Japanese haiku contains only 17 syllables, structured 5-7-5, and are frequently deep works of nature that reflect nature. Basho (1644-1694) is considered to be the master of Japanese haiku poetry. Limericks, from Ireland, are often considered to be little more than doggerel, but have remained quite popular in their five line, often satirical form.
However, poetry need not even rhyme. Free verse does not use meter or rhyme, and tends to follow natural speech. Walt Whitman was an early proponent of free verse poetry, reflected in his works such as Leaves of Grass. Modern poets tend to rely less on form and rhyme and more on the visual representation of the words on the paper. American poet e.e. Cummings was famous for his revolutionary poetry, which seemed to break all the rules of conventional English language.
Examples of Great Poet's Works to Write Research Papers On
Sylvia Plath illustrates how words can be used to symbolize meaning in her poem "Metaphors". Plath uses common phrases such as "boarded the train there's no getting off" to illustrate that life itself is a metaphor and can be worded many different ways. Thus Plath illustrates one need for poetry, that is to express one's self in a manner that is not commonly articulated. The benefit of this expression is to aid in a deeper understanding of thoughts and ideas.
Robert Lowell clarifies this point succinctly in his work "Epilogue". Lowell claims that words can serve as harsh luminaries of life. Poetry is not always flowing and beautiful and words can effectively "paralyze[d] by fact". Lowell writes of the brutality of his words and how they can be like a "snapshot" of life, not painted over by an artist's perception, but "lurid, rapid, garish, grouped, and hightened from life". Therefore, poetry can also serve as a mirror of life, not always pretty, but effectively realistic and insightful.
Several of the poems studied this semester discussed life in an umbrella sense and attempted to illustrate the author's view on life. Robert Frost is a master at using subtle images in nature to convey contemplation on the meaning of life. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is perhaps his finest example of simplicity in poetry used to reveal life through the beauty of nature. His use of imagery, tone, connotation and figurative language convey the theme of taking time to notice the beauty in the world, yet not dwelling on it too long for there is plenty to do in this lifetime. On a darker level, the poem also speaks of reflecting on death and the road that one travels to get there.
Robert Herrick echoes Frost's assertion that life is short in his poem "To the Virgins, to make Much of Time". In the line "And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying", Herrick claims that one never knows what tomorrow brings and each day is one day closer to death.Like Frost, Herrick believes that time should be used wisely and one should live happily, enjoying life. Herrick implores the reader to seize the day by directing "Gather ye rose-buds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying".
So one would ask if reading poetry is "seizing the day" or an effective use of time. Edwin Arlington Robinson provides the contrast to a life well spent in the character of Richard Cory. Richard Cory's life revolved around wealth and status. The situational irony of Cory's existence is that while he appeared to have it all, he was miserable and escaped his misery through suicide. Thus, wealth and success do not equal happiness and perhaps if Richard Cory had taken the time to read the wisdom of Frost or the warning of Gwendolyn Brooks, he may have been a happier man.
Gwendolyn Brooks warns of the hazards of status and being what is considered "cool" in her poem "We real cool". Brooks writes of those that hang around the pool hall late at night, drink, and "sing sin". She claims their lifestyle will lead to an early death. George Herbert echoes Brooks in his "Easter Wings" when he asserts that what really matters is the day that we die and go to heaven. Langston Hughes professes in "Harlem (A Dream Deferred) that there is really no certain way to make life turn out as one may want it to. Dreams often get deferred or put by the wayside and never returned to again. However, part of the purpose of poetry is to remind the reader of what is important in life, a truism, or to reveal a perspective that may not be realized. Poetry is intended to heighten one's awareness of life with the pleasure of sound, remind the reader of dreams through the stirring of emotion, and serve as a clever tool of inspiration.
Related Research Paper Topic Suggestions
John Milton Poems - John Milton Poems essays examine the English poet best known for his blank verse epic Paradise Lost.
Love Is Not All - Love Is Not All Research Papers discuss this poem, which is described as romantic and cynical.
Poetry Meter - Essays on poetry meter discuss the basic rhythmic structure of verses in poetry.
Prose - Research on prose examines the form of literature that is often considered to be the opposite of poetry.