Poetry An Entrancing World -Fahmida Mehreen
Poetry has been at play for thousands of years. It is used to express thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions. It has the power to create imagery on the reader’s mind. Poets choose different types of words and acoustics to match the mood of the poem. Some poems are rhyming, while others are non-rhyming. Moreover, in rhyming poems, there are different patterns of rhyming, making each of them unique from one another.
In today’s world, poetry plays a vital role not just as a cultural facet but as a way of demonstrating lifestyles. Poems are even used to address vital social and political issues. They convey a message in a lyrical arrangement of words. They are usually structured with rhyming lines and meter, but it can also be freeform with informal structure.
There are many different types of poetry. To start with, the Haiku, also known as ‘Hokku’, is an ancient form of Japanese poetry. They are usually small and concise in size and contains three lines, which is called ‘tarcet’. The pattern that it follows is the first, and the third lines have five syllables, and the second line has seven syllables. They are non-rhyming and is usually written to induce a particular temperament or instance. Matsuo Basho is a very popular Haiku poet. Writing a Haiku is a fun activity, and it can be used as a student engaging task at schools. Children can be creative while learning through fun.
A popular modern style of poem is Free Verse poem. It does not follow any structure or does not necessarily rhyme. There can be as many stanzas as the poet wants. But due to free style and no rules being attached, it can be a tricky and thought-provoking job to master in this art. ‘Accent’ by Rupi Kaur is a contemporary free verse poem.
When talking about poetry, sonnet is a must! It is an old form of poetry perfected by William Shakespeare. Originally, it was introduced in Italy by Petrarch in the 13th century. The word sonnet came from the Italian word ‘sonnetto’ which means little songs. It is made up of fourteen lines and has an essence of romance in its contents. Italian sonnets follow a rhyming scheme that looks like: ABBA ABBA CDE CDE. On the other hand, Shakespearean rhyming scheme is much like ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Sonnet 18: ‘Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?’ is one of Shakespeare’s most popular sonnets. Well, in the world of creativity, there are no rules and rules are only meant to be broken and recreated.
One of the most interesting and fun kind of poetry is Acrostics. It is widely taught in schools all across the world, particularly to kindergarten and junior primary school children. But that does not mean there are no acrostics for adults! The poem usually spells out a name or a word when it is read vertically. The first word of each line when combined together forms a word. The word that is laid out is mostly the theme of the poem. Like Haiku, it can also be used as a very useful teaching tool for all levels. Search up on the internet, and you will find uncountable acrostic poems.
Another old form of poetry is Villanelle. It originated from France and has quite a few numbers of rules. It has nineteen lines, where the first 5 stanzas have three lines, and the last stanza has four lines. It has two rhyming sounds and there are lots of repetitions. For instance, line one will be repeated in line six, twelve and eighteen, and line three will be repeated in line nine, fifteen and nineteen. It looks similar to a song when you come to think of it. The hard part is not coming up with the repeated lines but to make a meaning out of those repeated lines. Otherwise, it would just be a mumbo-jumbo. This style of poem is more popular among adults who have a knack for poetry and loves to explore them. ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ by Dylan Thomas is a well-known villanelle. The creations of Dylan Thomas, Edward Arlington Robinson, Sylvia Plath, and Elizabeth Bishop are much accredited in this regard.
Limerick is another fun type of poem. Personally, I have always enjoyed learning limerick at school, and now I enjoy teaching them to middle school children. Limericks are funny, but unfortunately, it can be rude or impolite sometimes. You need to make a careful choice of limerick when teaching students. They have a rhyming scheme of AABBA. Lines one, two and five are usually longer than lines three and four. The final punch comes in the last line, and it sounds very distinctive.
An elegy is a form of poetry that does not have rules but has some set motions. They are commonly written about a loved one who has passed away, or of a great loss that has completely shaken up a person’s life. It is not mandatory to be written about a person; it can be about groups of people too. Though the tone of the poem is tragic and melancholic, it usually ends on a positive note which is the brighter side of it. ‘Because I Could Not Stop For Death’ by Emily Dickinson is a beautiful elegy.
Talking about Ballad, this too is one of my personal favourites. It tells a typically emotional and dramatic story. It has been passed down from generation to generation, originating in some part of Europe. The best part is, it comes with music. Ballads follow a structure. Each stanza usually has four lines and follow a rhyming scheme ABAB or ABCB. Nonetheless, it can always be altered to suit the needs of the poet. Interestingly, most of the modern pop songs that we hear today can be called ballads to come extent. There are many examples of ballads, among which I would refer ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ by John Keats. It is written in old English and may need some interpretations, which is readily available on the internet.
Apart from these, there are other types of poem like Epics which are lengthy narrations of a heroic story; there is Pastoral poem which concentrates on nature and rural life; there is Ode which is like a tribute to a subject such as a friend who is no more; and Soliloquy where the character talks to himself or herself.
Each type of poetry has its own zeal and splendour. You cannot compare one with another. Depending on your mood and style of reading, you can choose a particular type, but that will not make the other ones any less important. Poetry is a big part of literature and is a very powerful tool. It can be impactful in many circumstances and make great things happen. In today’s digitalized world, we are not habituated to reading poetry books. We may have plenty just resting on our bookshelves which once belonged to our grandparents. But, on the contrary, if you want, all of this is just a click away. The Internet has it all and if you are interested, nothing is stopping you. So, on your next free day, take out some moment and try to read a poem. I bet you’ll not regret it.