Nearly all of you must have heard about poetry, irrespective of the fact whether someone enjoys it or not. As for those, who still wonder what poetry is; it's actually a form of literary art, which utilizes language for its aesthetic and evocative properties. Poems can exist both independently or even in concurrence with other parts, such as poetic drama, hymns or lyrics. Initially, poetry was expressed in different forms of speech as rhetoric, drama, song and comedy. Over the time, different cultures have developed varied types of poetic forms.
With regard to its history, it even predates literacy. The oldest surviving poem is the Epic of Gilgamesh, belonging to the 3rd millennium BC in Sumer (in Mesopotamia, now Iraq). It was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets and later, papyrus. Poetry is classified into different forms, based on a number of loosely structured rules of an elegy to a highly formalized structure of the ghazal or villanelle. The different poetic forms are as follows.
It is the most common form of poetry, which originated in thirteenth century and consisted of fourteen lines in a set rhyme scheme and logical structure. Sonnets are generally associated with love poetry and often employ a poetic diction heavily based on vivid imagery. Shakespeare's sonnets are the most renowned in English poetry, 20 of which are included in the Oxford Book of English Verse.
Jintishi is a Chinese poetic form, which is based on a series of set tonal patterns. It employs four tones of the classical Chinese language in each couplet, i.e. the level, rising, falling and entering tones. The fundamental jintishi form has eight lines in four couplets, with parallelism between the lines in the second and third couplet. Moreover, there are several variations on the basic form of the jintishi.
Villanelle is a nineteen-line poem, which comprises of five triplets with a closing quatrain. The poem also has two refrains, which are initially used in the first and third lines of the first stanza. Alternatively, they are used at the close of each subsequent stanza until the final quatrain. The conclusion is achieved by two refrains. The rest of the lines in the poem have an alternating a-b rhyme.
Haiku is a popular unrhymed Japanese poetic form. It evolved in the 17th century from hokku or opening verse of a renku. It is generally written in a single vertical line, containing three sections totaling 17 onji, structured in a 5 -7-5 pattern. The most renowned advocate of the haiku was Matsuo Bashô.
Ruba'i is a four-line verse or quatrain, which is practiced by Arabian and Persian poets. Persian poet Omar Khayyam was famous for his rubaiyat, the collection of quatrains. In fact, the notable English renderings of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam were produced by Edward Fitzgerald.
Odes were developed in ancient Greek by poet writings such as Pindar and in Latin, such as Horace. An ode generally has three parts; a strophe, an antistrophe and an epode. They usually have a formal poetic diction and deal with a serious subject. The strophe and antistrophe look at the subject from diverse opinions, often conflicting perspectives. Moreover, the epode moves to a higher level to either view or resolve the underlying issues.
The ghazal is a common form of poetry used in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Bengali. Classic ghazals consist of five to fifteen rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second line. Each line follows an identical meter and represents a set pattern of rhymes in the first couplet and among the refrains.