Hi guys ♥ today I'd like to start a series of articles where I share my notes. Today it is all about poetry and an introduction to it as genre.

book, poem, and blue image


Poetry derives its name from the Greek verb poiêin which means "to create". It was originally born as an oral art and it was generally accompanied by dances and music. It is also considered the oldest form of literature. People used it to express the most important events of their lives and to express feelings associated with them.
The 3 most important elements of it are:

  • the sound
  • the visual layout
  • the special way it uses language

That is why it is very important to focus our attention on the way and means the poet uses to convey their message.

book, coffee, and autumn image

Rhyme and layout

Poems rhyme when the last word of two or more lines has the same ending sound and in this case it is called end-rhyme. Conventionally, rhyme has often been used to mark the end of the line, which also makes the poem easier to memorise. (That is also why we tend to learn songs more easily than other things for example ♫)

When rhyme is used within the line, it is called internal rhyme.
Rhymes are identified by the letters of the alphabet and the pattern they create is called rhyme scheme.

book, coffee, and autumn image

Basic structural units

  • the line (the basic unit)
  • the stanza
  • the canto or book

All these can vary a lot (especially from one language to another), but in English a line of poetry is usually from 8 to 12 syllables in length and stanzas are normally from 2 to 12 line long.

Fun fact ☺ many experts have noticed that the most common line in Italian poetry is the Hendecasyllable (which means "11 syllables") because it is the closest to the inflection of spoken language!

pen, ink, and writing image

Common types of stanzas:

  • the couplet (2 lines)
  • the tercet (3 lines)
  • the quatrain (4 lines)
  • the sestet (6 lines)
  • the sestet (7 lines)
  • the octave (8 lines)

A complete poem may consist of only 2 lines, while narrative poems may extend over thousands lines.

book, cat, and tea image

That is all for today ☻ I hope you enjoyed this article and found something useful in it.

- Elena