Percy Bysshe Shelley, an English Romantic poet avouches that ‘Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar’. Here, Shelley points out an important aspect of poetry, which is to find fresh ways of looking at things we think we know well. It can be described as the rhythmical creation of beauty by the use of best words in the best order. It is so powerful that once Byron asserts, ‘poetry is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake’. So poetry is when an emotion of heart gets its thought and the thought gets words. So the unacknowledged legislators of the world, means the poets look at the world the way a man looks at a woman. They are soldiers that set free words from the steadfast possession of definition.
Poetry is a word of Greek origin. It comes from a verb which means “to make, to create”. It is a very ancient art which was born as an oral form and accompanied by simple music and dance. It expressed what people regarded as meaningful and memorable in their lives: natural disaster, births and deaths, brave actions, dangerous enemies, battles, etc.
It was often part of religious rites. Poets and listeners enjoyed playing with words, choosing and arranging them to produce music and meaning. The two words poem and poetry are interchangeably used although there is a difference in their inner meanings. Their connotations do differ to some extent. A poem is a piece of literary work. Poetry is an art form.
In a nutshell, we may say that poetry is one of the forms of fine arts. A poem is the fundamental unit of poetry. It can thus be said that poetry is made of poems. In other words, we can say that poems constitute the art form of poetry. A poet is one who composes poems and creates poetry in the process. He is just like a potter who is adept in making pots and creating the art form of pottery in the process. He alone can be called a poet who creates poetry frequently.
He who composes poems occasionally cannot be called a poet but can be called a versifier. Poetry is the result of the delineation of concepts and feelings by means of the use of the various elements of a language. Sounds and rhythms of words constitute the elements of language. To conclude with the words of Vincent Van Gogh “poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”
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