Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.
Poetry has a long history, dating back to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. Early poems evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the Sanskrit Vedas, Zoroastrian Gathas, and the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Ancient attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song and comedy. Later attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form and rhyme, and emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from more objectively informative, prosaic forms of writing. From the mid-20th century, poetry has sometimes been more generally regarded as a fundamental creative act employing language.
Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. The use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly figures of speech such as metaphor, simile and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm.
Some poetry types are specific to particular cultures and genres and respond to characteristics of the language in which the poet writes. Readers accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe, Mickiewicz and Rumi may think of it as written in lines based on rhyme and regular meter; there are, however, traditions, such as Biblical poetry, that use other means to create rhythm and euphony. Much modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, playing with and testing, among other things, the principle of euphony itself, sometimes altogether forgoing rhyme or set rhythm. In today's increasingly globalized world, poets often adapt forms, styles and techniques from diverse cultures and languages.Template:/box-footer
The Duino Elegies
: Duineser Elegien
) are a collection of ten elegies
written by the Bohemian
poet Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875–1926). Rilke, who is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets," began writing the elegies in 1912 while a guest of Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis
(1855–1934) at Duino Castle
, near Trieste
on the Adriatic Sea
. The poems, 859 lines long in total, were dedicated to the Princess upon their publication in 1923. During this ten-year period, the elegies languished incomplete for long stretches of time as Rilke suffered frequently from severe depression
—some of which was caused by the events of World War I
and being conscripted
into military service. Aside from brief episodes of writing in 1913 and 1915, Rilke did not return to the work until a few years after the war ended. With a sudden, renewed inspiration—writing in a frantic pace he described as a "boundless storm, a hurricane of the spirit"—he completed the collection in February 1922 while staying at Château de Muzot
, in Switzerland
's Rhone Valley
. After their publication in 1923 and Rilke's death in 1926, the Duino Elegies
were quickly recognized by critics and scholars as his most important work. (Full article...)
Wystan Hugh Auden
; 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden
, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, and is regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.
Auden grew up in and near Birmingham in a professional middle-class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems from the late 1920s and early 1930s, written in an intense and dramatic tone and in a style that alternated between telegraphic modern and fluent traditional, established his reputation as a left-wing political poet and prophet. In the late 1930s he became uncomfortable in this role and abandoned it after he moved to the United States in 1939, where in 1946 he became an American citizen. In his poems from the 1940s he explored religious and ethical themes in a less dramatic manner than in his earlier works, and combined traditional forms and styles with new, original forms. The focus of many of his poems from the 1950s and 1960s was on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions. He took a particular interest in writing opera librettos, a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings.
He was also a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays and other forms of performance. Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential. After his death, some of his poems, notably "Funeral Blues" ("Stop all the clocks"), "Musée des Beaux Arts", "Refugee Blues", "The Unknown Citizen", and "September 1, 1939", became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media. (Full article...)
|How Huineng became the 6th patriarch of Zen Buddhism: a poetry contest, with works by Shenxiu and by Huineng
The gatha by Shenxiu:
身是菩提樹， The body is a Bodhi tree,
心如明鏡臺。 The mind a standing mirror bright.
時時勤拂拭， At all times polish it diligently,
勿使惹塵埃。 And let no dust alight.
菩提本無樹， Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree;
明鏡亦非臺。 The bright mirror is also not a stand.
本來無一物， Fundamentally there is not a single thing —
何處惹塵埃。 Where could any dust be attracted?
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