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Poems Are Unsung Songs That Inspire The Soul Over The Decades
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Poems are compositions that inspire the imagination and soul. Often, they are written to express ideas, emotions and experiences in a vivid manner and utilize literary techniques, such as rhyme, metaphor and meter, to convey a unique message. The ancient Greeks were the first to commit their poetry to writing. Greece's poetic movement was a major part in the country's intellectual and cultural community and perhaps, the greatest in world history. Among its legendary poets were Homer, Euripides, Sappho, Hesiod and Anacreon. Poets wrote for courtly muses who entertained kings and for choirs. The Greeks produce hundreds of dramatic plays using lyric poetry with a three-act structure. Its early poets laid the foundation for tragedies, comedies, odes and epics. The Romans borrowed methods and techniques from Greek poetry and developed their own artistic expression.
Throughout the 11th and 13th centuries, Provencal troubadours were court singer-poets with royalty like King Richard I of England, the duke of Aquitaine and other prominent figures. Masters of this time period included Marie de France, Bertrand de Born and Christine di Pisan. Many of these poets travelled to communities to deliver songs, news, poems and dramatic sketches of their lyrical style. Forms, such as balata, canso, rondeau and sestina, were popular among the Provencal poets. Unfortunately, the Inquisition put a halt on the poetic movement in the 13 century. Many poets fled to Italy and Spain for refuge.
The Sicilian poets of the 14th century turned out poems of heartfelt love that evolved into the heartbeat of Renaissance poems. These ancestral poems exploded in England during the Shakespearean and Elizabethan eras. Court poets developed a series of lyrical styles and turned poetry into an art form. Hundreds of love poems were written in the form of canzones and sonnets. Among the best poets were Mazzeo Ricco, Pier delle Vigne and Giacomo Pugliese.
After the height of the Elizabethan and Shakespearean eras, the Romanticism period of poetry took center stage. The romantic poets made nature even more central to their poems and used it as an elusive metaphor. The period reflected a more personal expression of passion and feelings and challenged society to open their imaginations and minds. These poets planted the seeds for the Beat movement, transcendentalism and free verse. The core group of popular poets during this time include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, John Keats, William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
The Beat movement in poetry lasted from 1948 to 1963. Poets from the New York and San Francisco area formed a wide array of characters, but the central theme was to live life as they defined it. Poems were comprised of a mixture of free verse, be-bop jazz and academia. By the 1950s, these forms of poetry became the anthem for a generation of Greenwich Village youth seeking a deeper spiritual meaning for life. Famed poets from the Beat movement include Jack Kerouac, William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg.
Throughout history, poems have both captured and inspired the soul. With both form and metaphor, they are songs without the music.
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