Poetry Unfolds

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Poetry is more than just a seemingly complex set of words strung together. Often, poetry is rather simple; it is meant only to express what a writer might be too afraid to say out loud. Poetry is hard to define—it is as arguable as, “what is art?” Everything is art, and technically all written or spoken words meant to elicit emotions are poetry. By its very definition, poetry is “an arrangement of words written or spoken … expressing experience, idea , or emotions in a style more concentrated, imaginative and powerful than that of ordinary speech” (Anges ).

Poems are specifically written with the intent to be poetry, with more emphasis on what they evoke after being read. This is evocative and can draw people to poetry; it has power and effect on its readers. Within some poetry communities, whole new worlds, far from what is expected emerge. Society, which loves its writers, as evident in seeing someone quoting some poet in their Instagram bio or having someone else’s words become their new life philosophy. These people really know nothing about poets, and not just the historical ones, but the modern people who work for a living, writing line by line.

Stereotypes are associated with everything. Far too often in places where ideas seem too complicated to figure out, people will agree with a stereotype without question. All poets must be depressed intellectuals who feel out of place, according to a quick Google search (“How To Be”). Some say, “I don’t like poetry because I don’t understand it;” so many are quick to judge it as something complicated. It is not just stereotypes that make poetry seem foreign; while words are still beloved in our modern world, not all of them are sought after and cherished. If someone does not like poetry, chances are, they will not read it.

This is far from where poetry began. Poetry was seen as a golden form of writing, composing ideas and stories in such a short span of words. To understand all the details, scholars had to dissect the subject, meanings, and diction. It was quite literally the perfect form of literature for intellectuals. The oldest recorded writing was an epic poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh: “It is made up of an extended narrative work of art, that could be inscribed contained in the Sumerian Calligraphy inlaid on clay-based tablet pcs along with an objective of remembering well known kings and fighters included in the Greco-Roman business” (ContentEditor).

Poetry has reflected much of our history as outstanding literary works of art. Those Greco-Roman verses retold history and created stories of immense cultural importance. The Odyssey and The Iliad are still studied today for their significance. Classical Europe, rich in religious differences, was all connected by Psalms and hymns—which are poems in their own right, with roots in the beliefs of their time. Latin poetry set up much of the meter proportions that remain guidelines for writing poetry (ContentEditor). After trailing a finger down the back of the world’s index, in every chapter, poetry is found where not imagined.

Then, during the Romanticism era, a shift in both art and literature challenged traditions of Neoclassicism. It resulted in ‘literature depicting emotional matter in an imaginative form’ (University). Poets were in love with the possibilities and, as Victor Hugo put it, the “liberalism of literature,”(University) and welcomed the works of several famous poets such as: William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, John Keats, Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe. This era also gave birth to the popularity of the novel. A juxtaposition of poetry’s condensed nature; novels were pages upon pages of unconcentrated thoughts, giving readers plot, setting, and characters to discover in an expanse. Women writers emerged in full, taking to novels as their chance to prove their skills in literature.

Here, the literary world was introduced to many revolutionary female writers: Mrs Humphry Ward, Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, the women authors of romanticism (Wilt). The masses picked up novels and could not put them down; Thus, the public’s favour shifted from poetry to novels. Books had more for their audiences; to explore without deeper thought being necessary—though this is not to say that novels do not have their own complexity; their complexity is simply of a different kind, one that takes hundreds of pages to unwind. Poetry had lost its place at the very top, but poets continued to write.

Words were spread by being published on paper—something we still use—but with modern technology, poets are finding other outlets to be discovered. Instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler, Twitter, you name it. Just attach the right hashtag and words are out into the world at the tip of everyone’s fingers. It allows easy access for poet’s works, but it does not necessarily make it any easier to make it as a poet. Old poets are famous due to time. They may be excellent writers with passion and eloquence pouring out of each sonnet or poem, but time gave them the chance to branch out to their audience.

Shakespeare is by far one of the most famous writers in history; he is well renowned for his plays of timeless tales and sonnets that enchant the senses. All of this is fairly common knowledge. Shakespeare is well known for his writing because it possesses a power that has not been created by anyone else. People who love literature, or even some who just enjoy well-composed stories will swear by his name without a second thought. It is Shakespeare after all, and he has set this invisible bar for what storytelling should be. Taking aside his sonnets, readers find a different kind of story. The mysterious writer reveals 154 love sonnets, 126 of which are written for a young man (Internet Shakespeare). But why should people care? Simple: in his classic set up of iambic pentameter, he skillfully demonstrates love with rich diction. To love, to lose love, to be loved, and the timeless subject remains relevant and sought after.

Shakespeare could have been a passing trend, whose works were lost after time, but years after his death, his writing is still being adored. Through self publishing on Instagram, people have the privilege of reading the works of modern poets like Atticus, Nikita Gill, Rupi Kaur and r.h. Sin. These contemporary poets sparked a new wave of poetry, using social media as their platform. Claire Fallon, a culture writer for the Huffpost, wrote

“‘Instagram and other social media,’… ‘are a beautiful way to get the work to people for whom poetry has never been acceptable. For whom poetry has always seemed like a closed door, a certain type of person, a certain class of person, gender or color even ― which is ridiculous, because words are for everyone’” ( ).

Poetry did not lose its important as time went on, it just lost its connection with society. There is always a need for words that make a reader dive deep into their emotions. “The modern-day poetry bears an outstanding inclination to complimentary verse poems with immense concentrate on helpful phrase selection that provoke thoughtful impulse out of your readers”( ). Poetry now has changed because of society, for society. Poems fell out of reach for people, stopping them from discovering the significance of poetry.

This subject has not gone unnoticed. While there has not been many extensive researchers committed to analysis this shift, interested individuals have followed this subject in detail. According to Adam Kirsch, senior editor at The New Republic and author of 2 collection of poetry found “In the Victorian age, when a critic like Matthew Arnold addressed the public, he could expect it to know and care about the classics of English poetry. That is why writing about literature, for Arnold, could serve as a way of writing about society and even politics. Today, no such knowledge can be taken for granted”( )

This is what Kirsch found in his studies of how the social role of poetry changed. His studies let him to what is a common but unrecognised understanding. A distinct shift in how poets write now, compared to classical writers. He further explains how this change is not exactly dramatic as poetry was not written by everyone before and is still only written by few now. Kirsch adds, “poets in our time prefer to imagine themselves not as legislators, but as witnesses—those who look on, powerless to change the world, but sworn at least to tell the truth about it” (Kirsch) The reason for why poets write diversified due to the literary and cultural advancements. Kirsch writes with a clear understanding of the change society’s views on poetry and easily defines it.

The internet has lead to the revival of a literature form that was far too underappreciated. Studies show, “According to booksellers and publishers, the work of Instagram poets really is bringing in a new audience. Popular internet poets “‘seem to have engaged a ‘new generation of poetry,’”( ). That is, 21st century poets use modern media to expand on their audience and subject matter. There will always be readers who love poetry but based off society’s demand or extended eloquent storytelling, poetry will probably not return to its once former glory. That does not mean it should be abandoned or forgotten.

Poetry is just as important as other forms of literature, it just takes the right people to appreciate it, even if it is just a small community of like minded people trying to make sense of the world around them. Poetry has changed greatly over time. It works to reflect on the era in which the author writes and marks significant times in history, however, so do general books. “When we choose to read today, we choose to pick up a book, rather than an anthology of poetry” (Pyle). Both have their appeal, but books are often is chosen by the masses. Novels are wonderful, and we would not have our current society without them, but they aided in a disconnect to poetry.

Poetry remains important to society, however, it has indeed transformed over time, causing its importance to have a different impact on readers. Humans crave connections and often that connection can be found in words. “We cling to music, to poems, to quotes, to writing, to art because we desperately do not want to be alone. We want to know we aren’t going crazy and someone else out there knows exactly how you’re feeling” (me.me). When you are ever in need of words to express and evoke emotions, it has all been said before in poetry. If they can not find the words, write them.

Cite this paper

Poetry Unfolds. (2021, Jul 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/poetry-unfolds/

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