Portal:Poetry

Welcome to the Poetry Portal

The first lines of the Iliad
Great Seal Script character for poetry, ancient China

Poetry (derived from the Greek poiesis, "making"), also called verse, is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, a prosaic ostensible meaning. A poem is a literary composition, written by a poet, using this principle.

Poetry has a long and varied history, evolving differentially across the globe. It dates back at least to prehistoric times with hunting poetry in Africa, and to panegyric and elegiac court poetry of the empires of the Nile, Niger, and Volta River valleys. Some of the earliest written poetry in Africa occurs among the Pyramid Texts written during the 25th century BCE. The earliest surviving Western Asian epic poetry, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written in Sumerian.

Early poems in the Eurasian continent evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, as well as religious hymns (the Sanskrit Rigveda, the Zoroastrian Gathas, the Hurrian songs, and the Hebrew Psalms); or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the Egyptian Story of Sinuhe, the Indian epic poetry, and the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song, and comedy. Later attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form, and rhyme, and emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from more objectively-informative prosaic writing. (Full article...)

Selected article

First page of Dodsley's illustrated edition of Gray's Elegy with illustration by Richard Bentley

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is a poem by Thomas Gray, completed in 1750 and first published in 1751. The poem’s origins are unknown, but it was partly inspired by Gray’s thoughts following the death of the poet Richard West in 1742. Originally titled Stanza's Wrote in a Country Church-Yard, the poem was completed when Gray was living near St Giles' parish church at Stoke Poges. It was sent to his friend Horace Walpole, who popularised the poem among London literary circles. Gray was eventually forced to publish the work on 15 February 1751, to pre-empt a magazine publisher from printing an unlicensed copy of the poem.

The poem is an elegy in name but not in form; it employs a style similar to that of contemporary odes, but it embodies a meditation on death, and remembrance after death. The poem argues that the remembrance can be good and bad, and the narrator finds comfort in pondering the lives of the obscure rustics buried in the churchyard. The two versions of the poem, Stanzas and Elegy, approach death differently; the first contains a stoic response to death, but the final version contains an epitaph which serves to repress the narrator's fear of dying. With its discussion of, and focus on, the obscure and the known, the poem has possible political ramifications, but it does not make any definite claims on politics to be more universal in its approach to life and death.

The poem quickly became popular. It was printed many times, translated into many languages, and praised by critics even after Gray's other poetry had fallen out of favour. Later critics tended to praise its language and universal aspects, but some felt the ending was unconvincing, failing to resolve the questions the poem raised; or that the poem did not do enough to present a political statement that would serve to help the obscure rustic poor who form its central image. (Full article...)

Selected image

JALAL AL–DIN MUHAMMAD RUMI MATHNAVI-I MA’NAVI2.jpg
Page from the Mathnavi by Rumi
image credit: public domain

Poetry WikiProject

Charles Baudelaire
The poetry WikiProject works to improve the quality and scope of all poetry-related articles. Please join us!

Selected biography

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an expatriate American poet and critic who was a major figure of the early modernist movement. His contribution to poetry began with his development of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. His best-known works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and the unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos (1917–69).

Working in London in the early 20th century as foreign editor of several American literary magazines, Pound helped discover and shape the work of contemporaries such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway. He was responsible for the 1915 publication of Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and the serialization from 1918 of Joyce's Ulysses. Hemingway wrote of him in 1925: "He defends [his friends] when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. ... He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying ... he advances them hospital expenses and dissuades them from suicide."

Outraged by the carnage of World War I, Pound lost faith in England and blamed the war on usury and international capitalism. He moved to Italy in 1924, and throughout the 1930s and 1940s embraced Benito Mussolini's fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Oswald Mosley. During World War II he was paid by the Italian government to make hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jews, as a result of which he was arrested by American forces in Italy in 1945 on charges of treason. He spent months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including three weeks in a six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cage that he said triggered a mental breakdown, "when the raft broke and the waters went over me". Deemed unfit to stand trial, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years. (Full article...)

Did you know (auto-generated) - load new batch

Nuvola apps filetypes.svg

Selected poem

Song of Songs by anonymous (chapter 1)
0000001

1The song of songs, which is Solomon's. 2Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth--for thy love is better than wine. 3Thine ointments have a goodly fragrance; thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the maidens love thee. 4Draw me, we will run after thee; the king hath brought me into his chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will find thy love more fragrant than wine! sincerely do they love thee. {P}

5'I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. 6Look not upon me, that I am swarthy, that the sun hath tanned me; my mother's sons were incensed against me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.' 7Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon; for why should I be as one that veileth herself beside the flocks of thy companions? 8If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock and feed thy kids, beside the shepherds' tents. {P}

9I have compared thee, O my love, to a steed in Pharaoh's chariots. 10Thy cheeks are comely with circlets, thy neck with beads. 11We will make thee circlets of gold with studs of silver. 12While the king sat at his table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance. 13My beloved is unto me as a bag of myrrh, that lieth betwixt my breasts. 14My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna in the vineyards of En-gedi. {S} 15Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves. 16Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant; also our couch is leafy. 17The beams of our houses are cedars, and our panels are cypresses.

Related portals

Topics

Recognized content

Extended content

Featured articles

Featured lists

Good articles

Did you know? articles

Featured portals

Featured article candidates

Good article nominees

Former featured articles

Former featured lists

Former good articles

Categories

Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Discover Wikipedia using portals