Did you know that poetry may actually predate the written word? Today, in a world full of written prose, this can be hard to imagine. In a time of strictly oral communication, however, poetic forms had not only aesthetic but highly practical purposes. Due to the often rhythmic and rhyming nature of poems, poetry can be easier to remember than prose, and poetry can be used as a mnemonic device. Metered (rhythmic) and rhyming phrases were once recited, or sung, in order to remember and convey oral history, genealogy, and even law! (History of Poetry)
Poems don’t have to include rhyme or meter, though! This open-ended art includes highly specific and regimented forms such as sonnets, as well as free verse poems which do not have a set meter or rhyme scheme. Poetry has evolved over the centuries to include relatively new forms such as prose poetry. Prose poems are short poems, utilizing paragraphs and full sentences just like prose does, while also including poetic techniques such as imagery or repetition of phrases.
While poetry and song lyrics are not exactly the same, these two ancient, global art forms are highly interwoven. In the turbulent teen years, many people are deeply moved and form emotional connections to song lyrics as well as poetry. Writing poetry is a highly cathartic hobby which can help young people express themselves, discover their tastes, mold personal identities, and process complex emotions. The term “poetry” comes from the Greek term, “poiesis,” which translates to “making.” How do you make poetry? Typically by applying your choice of poetic techniques such as rhythm, rhyme, line breaks, repetition, puns, alliteration, or others, to your writing.
26th Annual Poet’s Seat Contest
Do you or someone you know like to write poetry? Why not participate in the Greenfield Public Library’s 26th Annual Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest? The contest is open to all Franklin County poets in two categories: Adults, and Young Poets (ages 12-18). This contest encourages both adults and young people to engage with the ancient art of poetry, while connecting with other poets and sharing work! Entries must be postmarked by March 6, 2017. Visit the Greenfield Public Library website for full entry guidelines. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA.