This And That About The History Of Poetry

This And That About The History Of Poetry

Many people love to read and write poetry. The pieces can take different forms, styles, and tones, which allow authors to express themselves how they see fit. Symbols, word choice, and more come into play with this type of writing. Poetry is a literary technique that has been around for thousands of years, in one fashion or another, but finding its exact origin is easier said than done. Curious Philadelphia residents should read further to learn more about the history of poetry.

When some folks think of poetry, their mind immediately goes to the Romantic poets of the 19th century. Why? Well, for one, these artists created fascinating pieces that people still enjoy today. Some renowned names that readers have likely heard of include but are not limited to...

  • Emily Dickinson
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Walt Whitman
  • John Keats

Of course, others might drift all the way back to the 1600s where the literary elite, John Dryden, made a name for himself. He is one of the most distinguished authors of the period following Queen Elizabeth I's reign. This poet is best known for his works Mac Flecknoe, A satyr upon the True-Blew-Protestant Poet, T.S., and Absalom and Achitophel.

Useful Tidbits About Sonnets

While the poets mentioned above are all inspiring artists whose words touch the souls of their readers, there were other poets before them. For example, Petrarchan sonnets came out as early as the 13th century. Perhaps, the most well-known author of these poems was Petrarca, who the style was named after. There were others that imitated the writing in the years to follow, but it wasn't until William Shakespeare came along in the 16th century that the English form took off. It is important to remember that the rhyme schemes and iambic pentameter will vary depending on whether you are reading an Italian or English sonnet.

But, Where Did The Poetry Originate?

It is hard to say who wrote the first poem. However, The Epic of Gilgamesh dates back to the 18th century B.C. This piece contains Sumerian poems, and it was discovered in lots of Babylonian tablets during archaeological explorations. Many people, including those right here in Philadelphia cite the text as one of the earliest epic poetry works. Meanwhile, other early epic poetry includes the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which are vital tales to Buddhist and Hindu mythology. 

20th Century Poetry

The 20th century ushered in a new writing movement called modernist poetry. High school and college students alike are likely familiar with some of the names from this era. Teachers regularly get students to analyze poems by T.S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, and more. There are a number of poets from this period that won the Nobel Prize. For instance, Rabindranath Tagore won the esteemed award in 1913, William Butler Yeats in 1923, and Seamus Heaney in 1995. Additionally, other poets like Derek Walcott, Rudyard Kipling, and Wole Soyinka have been given the honor too.