The History of Poetry

By: Elizabeth Patrick

According to “FACTRETRIEVER 31 Interesting but True Poetry Facts” states, “Poetry is one the oldest forms of communication, dating back to prehistoric times with hunting poetry in Africa and ancient Egypt.”

Poetry is believed to have originated from ancient rituals and chants used for storytelling purposes when performing religious ceremonies or rites of passage such as weddings or funerals. Some of the earliest examples of poetry include cave paintings. Humans typically created these paintings to illustrate spiritual stories or as a way to connect with their environment. Poetry has become a powerful and significant medium that tells stories about love, loss, and life experiences with deep meaning to readers everywhere. 

There are a variety of different types of poems. The oldest known form of poetry is ancient poetry which began over 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia with the invention of cuneiform. These forms of poems were found on clay tablets detailing how the ancient kings would rule their people. The oldest known poem today, The Epic of Gilgamesh, was created in Mesopotamia, and it’s believed he copied them from earlier works that have been lost or never found for future generations to enjoy.

The oldest form of poetry was Medieval poetry which took place around 400 AD. During Medieval times, new forms of poetry were formed, including rhyming couplets and ballads with refrains. Around 1500 AD, during the Renaissance era, poets rediscovered many classical texts from ancient Greece and Rome. During this time, poets wrote about love, nature, and religion, and there was an emphasis on writing poetry for public performance. To wrap it up, the earliest forms of poetry date back over 5000 years.

As history continued to evolve, the following type of poetry occurred during 1660-1800 and was known as the non-classical poetry era. During this time, poets wanted to explore writing with integrity, leading them back towards more traditional forms like epics, odes, and sonnets instead of experimenting with new styles such as rhyming couplets or free verse.

The following form of poetry occurred during the Romantic Era, which lasted from 1798-1850 AD. The poets of this era were considered to be more accessible than those before them because they wrote about everyday life rather than lofty subjects or themes that were not relatable to most readers. One of the most famous poets from this era was William Wordsworth, who wrote about the natural world and its connections.

The final era of poetry was the modern era which started in 1850 and went to the present day. This era began with Walt Whitman, whose works were some of the most innovative and influential poems ever written in America. In conclusion, poetry has evolved into many different forms and genres throughout the years.

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