10 Interesting Facts About Poetry You Never Heard

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Poetry is a literary work, a way to express feelings and ideas by the use of distinguishing style and rhythm. The style uses different qualities of language including phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre-“to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic apparent meaning”.

There are many interesting facts that revolves around poetry, like the last words of poet Lady Mary Wortley Montagu were, “it’s all been very interesting” or Sir Walter Scott’s bestselling epic poem about the Battle of Flodden (1513), “Marmion”, was composed by him while on horseback or that George MacDonald once wrote a two-word poem named “The Shortest and Sweetest of Songs”, which simply said “Come Home.” Learn 10 such more interesting facts below:

1. Every year, March 21 is celebrated as the World Poetry Day. An initiative by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is a day dedicated for appreciation of poetry and poets around the globe.
2. The Director-General of UNESCO once quoted for World Poetry Day 2015: “Poetry is the universal human song, expressing the aspiration of every woman and man to apprehend the world and share this understanding with others, through the arrangement of words in rhythm and meter.”

3. An epic, a long narrative poem, is considered as the earliest form of poetry. It’s usually based around some cultural, social or national events. However, today there are majorly the following types of poetry: Lyric Poetry, Narrative Poetry and Descriptive and Didactic Poetry.

The Mahbharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics, is considered as the longest poem in the world. It is an Ancient India poem with approximately 1.8 million words.

5. The Epic of Gilgamesh (originated in ancient Mesopotamia), is considered as the oldest written poem in history. The epic dates back to the Third Dynasty of Ur (circa 2100 BC), telling the story of a king, Gilgamesh, who was half-man and half-god. The piece is also regarded as the first great work of literature.

6. Beowulf, an epic, is considered as the oldest poem written in English. It consists of 3182 alliterative long lines, and is accepted as one of the most important works of Old English literature. Written in the 8th century AD, by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet, referred as “Beowulf poet”, it tells a story about a Scandinavian hero, Beowulf, who saves the Danes from two monsters named Grendel and its mother. And in American literature, Herman Melville’s 1876 work Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land, is the longest published poem ever.

7. One of the most popular forms in short poems is termed as Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry. Previously called “hokku”, the name was later changed by the Japanese writer Masaoka Shiki.

8. Early poems are said to have been evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to repeat oral epics, as with the Sanskrit Vedas, Zoroastrian Gathas, and the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

A lot of words, phrases were also developed, thanks to the era of poetry. For example, the word ‘unfriend’ (one who is not a friend), was first used in Layamon’s medieval epic poem Brut and dates back to 1275. Another such example is the phrase “namby pamby”, which originated as a nickname for Ambrose Philips, 18th century poet. Another 18th century poet, George Galloway, is known to be the first person to describe the slums as “rookeries”. Also the word “bitch” was first used in reference to a man in a poem dating back to 1500.

10. As per historic records, the three biggest-selling poets in the world are Shakespeare, Lao-Tzu, and Khalil Gibran.

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