Poetry is a form of literary art which uses the aesthetic qualities of language to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.
Poetry as an art form may predate literacy. Epic poetry, from the Indian Vedas (1700–1200 BC) and Zoroasters Gathas to the Odyssey (800–675 BC), appears to have been composed in poetic form to aid memorization and oral transmission, in prehistoric and ancient societies. Other forms of poetry developed directly from folk songs. The earliest entries in the ancient compilation Shijing, were initially lyrics, preceding later entries intended to be read. The oldest surviving epic poem is the Epic of Gilgamesh, from the 3rd millennium BC in Sumer (in Mesopotamia, now Iraq), which was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets and, later, papyrus. Other ancient epic poetry includes the Greek epics Iliad and Odyssey, the Old Iranian books the Gathic Avesta and Yasna, the Roman national epic, Virgils Aeneid, and the Indian epics
1. Rhythm: This is the music made by the statements of the poem, which includes the syllables in the lines. The best method of understanding this is to read the poem aloud, and understand the stressed and unstressed syllables. Listen for the sounds and the music made when we hear the lines spoken aloud. How do the words resonate with each other? How do the words flow when they are linked with one another? Does sound right? Do the words fit with each other? These are the things you consider while studying the rhythm of the poem.
2. Meter: This is the basic structural make-up of the poem.Do the syllables match with each other? Every line in thepoem must adhere to this structure. A poem is made up ofblocks of lines, which convey a single strand of thought.Within those blocks, a structure of syllables which followthe rhythm has to be included. This is the meter or themetrical form of poetry.
3. Stanza: Stanza in poetry is defined as a smaller unit orgroup of lines or a paragraph in a poem. A particular stanzahas a specific meter, rhyme scheme, etc. Based on thenumber of lines, stanzas are named as couplet (2lines), Tercet (3 lines), Quatrain (4 lines), Cinquain (5lines), Sestet (6 lines), Septet (7 lines), Octave (8 lines).
4. Rhyme: A poem may or may not have a rhyme. Whenyou write poetry that has rhyme, it means that the lastwords or sounds of the lines match with each other in someform. Rhyme is basically similar sounding words like catand hat, close and shows, house and mouse, etc. Freeverse poetry, though, does not follow this system.
5. Rhyme Scheme: As a continuation ofrhyme, the rhyme scheme is also one ofthe basic elements of poetry. In simplewords, it is defined as the pattern ofrhyme. Either the last words of the firstand second lines rhyme with eachother, or the first and the third, secondand the fourth and so on. It is denoted byalphabets like aabb (1st line rhyming with2nd, 3rd with 4th); abab (1st with3rd, 2nd with 4th); abba (1st with4th, 2nd with 3rd), etc.
6. Alliteration: This is also used inseveral poems for sound effect.Several words in the sentencemay begin with the samealphabet or syllable sound. Forexample, in the sentence "Manyminute miniature moments," thesound of the alphabet M(phonetic sound /m/) is repeatedin all the four words continuously.When you say those wordsaloud, the sound effect generatedis called Alliteration.
7. Simile: A simile is a method ofcomparison using the words like oras. When, in a poem, something issaid to be like another, it meansthat the poet is using Simile toconvey his feelings by comparing itto something. For example, in thestatement Her laughter was like ababbling brook, the poet iscomparing the laughter of the girl tothe sound made by a babblingbrook. Note that babbling brook isalso an example of Alliteration.
7. Metaphor: A metaphor is a method of comparison wherethe words like and as are not used. To modify the earlierexample, if the statement had been Her laughter, ababbling brook, then it would be the use of Metaphor.
8. Theme: This is what the poem is all about. The theme ofthe poem is the central idea that the poet wants to convey.It can be a story, or a thought, or a description of somethingor someone; anything that the poem is about.
9. Symbolism: Often poems will convey ideas and thoughtsusing symbols. A symbol can stand for many things at onetime and leads the reader out of a systematic andstructured method of looking at things. Often a symbolused in the poem will be used to create such an effect.
10. Imagery: Imagery is also one of the important elementsof a poem. This device is used by the poet for readers tocreate an image in their imagination. Imagery appeals to allthe five senses. For e.g., when the poet describes, theflower is bright red, an image of a red flower is immediatelycreated in the readers mind.
The elements of poetry are an essential partof the structure of a good poem. Ofcourse, it does not mean, that all poemsmust have all these elements. It dependsentirely upon the poet, who has all thesetools at his disposal to use in order toconvey his ideas effectively.