The Greek verb ποιεω [poiéo (= I make or create)], gave rise to three words: ποιητης [poiet?s (= the one who creates)], ποιησις [poíesis (= the act of creation)] and ποιημα [poíema (= the thing created)]. From these we get three English words: poet (the creator), poesy (the creation) and poem (the created). A poet is therefore one who creates and poetry is what the poet creates.
And even though some say that poetry is nothing you can or should explain today on World Poetry Day I am going to take a try at doing so. Poetry (in ancient Greek: ποιεω (poieo) = I create) is a form of art in which the authors of this genre use language in a somewhat pictorial language that is aimed to make their readers feel certain emotions or to make them understand the emphasis on specific topics. This condensed use of language is what lets poems stand out under all the different types of prose.
This in fact also the reason why it holds true to say that in the so called verses the main objective lies in the weight of the words used and their balance among each other rather than in the type of words the author applied. Because of this nature of emphasising linguistic form rather than using language purely for its content, poetry is notoriously difficult to translate from one language into another.
Eventually, this characteristic of poems is moreover what can make them so hard to interpret from time to time, as the meaning each reader concludes for himself can be widely different from the one of another based on where he puts his emphasis, the weight he or she believes certain words carry and how he or she is associating some terms.
Other forms of prose are frequently using more complete logical or narrative structures than poetry does. This does not necessarily imply that poetry is illogical, but rather that poetry is often created from the need to escape the logical, as well as expressing feelings. This noticeable difference is also shown in the ways that the lyrical self is sometimes expressed in poems.
History has it that poems in general are told to have their origin in songs as what distinguished them from other prose forms is rhythm, rhyme and compression. This said it seems rather clear why so many mnemonic aids are existing to help you remember things such as the directions or the planets of the universe. These kind of sentences stick to people’s heads because of their rhythms but also because they rhyme just like you can remember the words to your favourite song. Actually, this is furthermore the reason why especially professionals working in marketing like jingles and rather stupid advertisement songs as much.
However, in the European tradition the earliest surviving poems, the Homeric and Hesiodic epics, identify themselves as poems to be recited or chanted to a musical accompaniment rather than as pure song.
The World Poem Day is existing as an International Awareness Day since 1999 when it was established by the UNESCO. This day seeks to promote linguistic diversity though poetic expression and to motivate especially young people to engage more in areas such as writing, reading and composing. The UNESCO wishes to recreate the awareness for poetry and aims to re-establish a link between poetry and other arts such as the theatre or music. Furthermore, the organisation believes teaching youngsters but also the rest of the world about poems and their origin can lead to a greater understanding for some historical epochs and important events or ideas.
As a matter of fact poetry is not regarded as completely outdated anymore in these days, but there have been times where society hat to fear it would become an art of the past. Nowadays, there is a whole new movement that emerged within the last decade, namely “slam poetry”, which is reviving the love for rhymes and verses once more. As famous poets from other centuries did, these poetry slammers are processing recent issues, political movements, but also daily live stories in a lyrical, but slightly more to our age adapted way.
If you are interested in finding more about this “new” trend in poetry be sure to check our Facebook Page to find information and links on this topic.
written by Karolin VR