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Portal:Poetry Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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...)

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The conversation poems are a group of eight poems composed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) between 1795 and 1807. Each details a particular life experience which lead to the poet's examination of nature and the role of poetry. They describe virtuous conduct and man's obligation to God, nature and society, and ask as if there is a place for simple appreciation of nature without having to actively dedicate one's life to altruism.

The Conversation poems were grouped in the 20th-century by literary critics who found similarity in focus, style and content. The series title was devised to describe verse where Coleridge incorporates conversational language while examining higher ideas of nature and morality. The works are held together by common themes, in particular they share meditations on nature and man's place in the universe. In each, Coleridge explores his idea of "One Life", a belief that people are spiritually connected through a universal relationship with God that joins all natural beings.

Critics have disagreed on which poem in the group is strongest. Frost at Midnight is usually held in high esteem, while Fears in Solitude is generally less well regarded.. (Full article...)

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Goethe Faust Fragment 1790.jpg
Early version (partial) of Goethe's Faust (1790)
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!

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The only authenticated portrait of Emily Dickinson later than childhood.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Considered an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.

While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1800 poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends. (Full article...)

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The Erl-King (Der Erlkönig) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear?

The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasped in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.


"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?"
"Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?"
"My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."


"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh, come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?"
"Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives;
'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."


"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care;
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."


"My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?"
"My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
'Tis the aged gray willows deceiving thy sight."


"I love thee, I'm charmed by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ."
"My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."


The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child:
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,—

The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.

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