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Nikki Giovanni

Some notable poets include Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Rita Dove, E.E. Cummings, Nikki Giovanni, and Oscar Wilde.

The haiku is one of the popular forms of shortest poetic writing. It originated in Japan. The interesting thing about haiku is that it has only seventeen syllables – with three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, respectively.

“Mahabharata,” an Indian epic poem, is the world’s longest poem with around 1.8 million words.

Charles Ghigna poem called “I” is one of the shortest poems in the world.

World Poetry Day is celebrated on March 21 each year to appreciate and support poets and poetry around the world. It is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The earliest type of poem was the epic. An epic presents a long narrative (story) of amazing heroic deeds.

“Epic of Gilgamesh” from Babylon is the oldest written poem. It is said to be around 4,000 years old, and it tells the story of a king, Gilgamesh, who was half-man, half-god.

A stanza, traditionally contains 12 lines. A two-line stanza is called a couplet, and a four-line couplet is a quatrain.

Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot wrote in free verse

Aristotle believed there were three categories of poetry: epic, tragic, and comic.

During World War I poets like Edward Thomas, Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke were conscripted and drew on their experiences to produce poetry from the trenches. Many of these WWI poems were published in newspapers and anthologies whilst the conflict was still going on, but others were not seen by the public until after the fighting had ceased.

Meter is the rhythm of a poem. Rhythm is created by the stressed (long) and unstressed (short) syllables (parts of a word) in a line. Short and long syllables are arranged in fixed patterns known as feet. A foot with a long and a short syllable is called a trochee. A line with ten syllables is called a pentameter.

Poetic devices are the special tricks and techniques that make poetry different from everyday language. Alliteration repeats consonants, as in “slithering snake” — the repeated use of the “s” makes us think of the sound a snake makes, which strengthens the image. Other common devices are metaphor and simile, both forms of comparison. A simile uses “like” or “as”: “My love is like a red, red rose.” A metaphor does not: “My love is a red rose.”

The oldest poem in English is “Beowulf,” written in the 8th century AD. This 3,000-line epic is about a Scandinavian hero, Beowulf, who saves the Danes from two monsters — Grendel and its mother.

Contact staff writer Chanel Hill at (215) 893-5716 or at chill@phillytrib.com.

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