The world of English Literature and Arts and Entertainment have been shaped by our poets from days gone by. Simply defined by The New Standard Encyclopedia, copyright 1982, poetry is a form of literature. It is true. Poetry is a form of literature. However, the art form has various divisions which have been defined since the Renaissance period. Keep reading your encyclopedia and upon closer study you will see the difference between the divisions.
Ballads and Epics are great examples of the first division. These works fall into a division called Narrative Poetry. One of the best and most famous examples of a Narrative Poem is a work call “Birches” by Robert Frost. Robert Frost tells a compelling story about what the birch trees mean to him.
The second major division is Dramatic Poetry. Dramatic Poetry is a little different in that the characters themselves reveal the story through their speech. A drama or play where the actors use verse to get their point across is viewed as dramatic poetry.
Lastly, the third major division of poetry is Lyric Poetry. Lyric Poetry is usually short, unified and gets down to the actual personal feelings of the poet. A few examples of Lyric Poetry are the ode, the sonnet, a song, or madrigal.
Although there are three major divisions of poetry, several minor divisions emerged and needed to be mentioned. Didactic poetry focuses on a moral lesson or some teaching. Satirical Poetry follows a ridiculous idea or some evil plot carried out in a humorous type manner. Lastly, Pastoral or Idyllic Poetry shows the idealized happenings of rural life.
As a business student, English Literature qualified as one of my most challenging courses of all time. In that, I am often reminded through the throws of life that these poets faced similar challenges. Their words come back to me in a powerful way. It was Walt Whitman that said, “And your flesh shall be a great poem.” How true that is and I have never forgotten.
I have one tip for the poetry reader. Take out a little time and conduct a bit of research on the poet. Find out what they were doing or going through at the time of the writing and you may discover an additional meaning.
The next time you feel vegetative while watching TV, pull out your favorite collection of poems or literary work. You will go from a state of vegetation to one of creativity. Apply it to your life and you will remember those lines of poetry as a staple reference to life itself.