7 junio, 2024

The 13 Most Important Characteristics of a Poem

Some characteristics of a poem They are its irrational content, its structure in lines and stanzas, and its rhythm. To better understand these characteristics, you must first know what poetry is.

The word comes from ancient Greek and means to create. It is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to or instead of its rational and semantic content.

Poetry can be used in a condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the mind or ear of the reader or listener. You can also use devices such as assonance and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects.

Poems are frequently based on their effect on image, word association, and the musical qualities of the language used. The interactive layering of all these effects to generate meaning is what defines poetry.

Due to its nature, it emphasizes the linguistic form rather than using the language purely for its content.

Poetry is notoriously difficult to translate from one language to another: a possible exception to this might be the Hebrew Psalms, where the beauty lies more in the balance of ideas than in the specific vocabulary.

In most poetry, it is the connotations and the “baggage” that the words carry (the weight of the words) that are most important. These shades of meaning can be difficult to interpret and can cause different readers to interpret the poems differently.

Fundamental characteristics of the poems

1- They tend to be rhythmic

The marked rhythm of poetry, superimposed on the «natural» rhythm of any language, seems to have taken its root from two sources:

Make common declamation easier and emphasize the collective nature of poetry.

It is the impression of the social mold in which poetry is generated. As a result, the nature of the rhythm expresses in a subtle and sensitive way the precise balance between the instinctive or emotional content of the poem and the social relations through which the emotion is collectively realized.

Thus, any change in the self-assessment of the relationship of the instincts with society is reflected in their attitude towards the metric and rhythmic conventions in which the poem is born.

Facilitate collective emotion

The body has certain natural periodicities (pulse, breath, etc.) that form a dividing line between the randomness of external events and the ego and make it seem that we experience time subjectively in a special and direct way.

The rhythm puts people in a collective festival in contact with each other in a particular way, physiological and emotional. This emotional introversion is itself a social act.

2- They are difficult to translate

It is recognized as one of the characteristics of poetry that translations convey little of the specific emotion aroused by that poetry in the original.

This can be confirmed by anyone who, after reading a translation, has learned the language of the original. What is called the «sense» can be exactly translated. But the specific poetic emotion evaporates.

3- Its content is usually irrational

This does not mean that poetry is incoherent or meaningless. Poetry obeys the rules of grammar and is generally capable of paraphrasing, that is, the series of propositions it consists of can be expressed in different forms of prose in the same or other languages.

By «rational» is meant conforming to the orderings that men agree to see in the general environment of the world. Scientific argument is rational in this sense, poetry is not.

4- They are characterized by condensed effects

The condensed effects are the aesthetic effects. A telegram. «Your wife died yesterday» may impart extraordinarily condensed effects to the reader, but they are not, of course, aesthetic effects. Instead, in poems, language is used symbolically.

Non-aesthetic effects are individual, not collective, and depend on particular, not social, experiences.

Therefore, it is not enough for poetry to be charged with emotional meaning if this emotion results from a particular unrealizable personal experience. The emotion must be generated by the experience of men in society.

5- Economy of language

One of the most definable characteristics of poetry is the economy of language. Poets are relentlessly critical of the way they lay out words on a page.

Careful word selection for conciseness and clarity is basic even for prose writers, but poets go far beyond this, considering a word’s emotive qualities, its musical value, its spacing, and even its spatial relationship. with the page.

6- They are evocative

In general, the poems evoke an intense emotion in the reader: joy, sadness, anger, catharsis, love, etc. Also, poetry has the ability to surprise the reader with a revelation, insight, understanding of elemental truth and beauty.

7- Shape

Every time we look at a poem, the first thing we notice is its shape. In other words, poems have a given form.

One poem will look very different from another, and yet another poem will look very different from the second, and so on. Each poet uses the «form» that will most effectively express what he wants to convey to other human beings.

8- Lines

After looking at a poem and seeing that it has some kind of shape, we often notice that it is also made up of lines, which are the vehicle for the authors’ thoughts and ideas.

They are building blocks with which a poem is created. The words in each line proceed as usual from left to right, but end where the poet wants them to stop.

9- Stanzas or stanzas

Lines in a poem are often divided into sections that look like a paragraph of sorts. They are the verses.

There are also stanzas, whose name comes from the Italian «stanza» and which refers to a stanza made up of six lines of 11 syllables and 7 syllables with consonant rhyme, which is repeated throughout the poem on a recurring basis.

10- Rhyme

Rhyme is the sound imitation of the final syllables of words. There are basically two kinds of rhyme used in poetry. The first, the final rhyme, is the most typical and best known by young people.

The second type of rhyme is called an internal rhyme. This type of rhyme is different from final rhyme in that the rhyme takes place inside the line and not at the end.

11- Verses

Poems are made up of verses. These are about the union of a series of words placed in such a way that it maintains a rhythm and metric. There are minor art verses (up to 8 syllables) and minor art verses (between 9 and 14 syllables).

Although it is less frequent, it is also possible to find authors who write poems in prose, excluding rhyme and meter but maintaining rhythm and resources such as the stanza.

12- Subjectivity

The poems are subjective, since they are the expression of the author’s feelings, but they can also change the vision according to the reader’s interpretation.

13- They evolve

All of the above features have been taking shape and evolving within literary movements and social contexts. Like other literary genres, the poem has evolved and will always evolve.

Themes of interest

Romanticism poems.

Avant-garde poems.

Renaissance poems.

Futurism poems.

Classicism poems.

Neoclassicism poems.

Baroque poems.

Poems of Modernism.

Poems of Dadaism.

Cubist poems.

Baroque poems.


Niko Silvester. Top 10 Key Elements of Poetry. (nd). Retrieved from web.gccaz.edu.
Elements of Poetry. (nd). Retrieved from learn.lexiconic.net.
Characteristics of A Poem. (2011). Recovered from thelitpath.wordpress.com.
Elements of Poetry – and Description of Quality Characteristics. (nd). Retrieved from homeofbob.com.

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