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Genres of Poetry 

Poetry is a much more creative and complicated form of writing compared to prose and short stories. A poetry has to be written in a condensed form without losing the main theme. Poetry are inclusive of rhythm, metaphors, intonation, which makes it distinct in its structure. The rhythmic and aesthetic language used in poetry easily hooks the reader’s interest. Multiple layers of thoughts are conveyed in the alliterations, similes, assonances of the poetry. Poetries are not subject to a particular theme or topic. It varies according to different genres and has definites types. Some of the renowned genres of poetry writing are narrative, lyric, elegy, satirical and many more.


Narrative Poetry

Narrative poetry is a narration of a story, with or without rhyming words. Such poetry has greater appeal for human interests and delivers complex stories in a poetic form. Epics, Ballads, Idylls, and Lays are the types of poem which fall under this genre. Epic poems falls under the epic genre of poetry, which is mostly similar to the narrative poems except that the epic poems have the work of heroic or mythological people as their central theme.


“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe is an example of ballard.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me—

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.


Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry are short and melodic. Unlike narrative poems, Lyric poetry does not tell stories, it reflects the personal thoughts and perceptions from the poet’s point of view. Lyric is rooted from the German word lyre, an instrument played during ancient times when Lyric poems were recited. Lyric poems generally has a musical quality that makes the poem more like a song. This genre is inclusive of  Sonnet and Ode poems.


Sonnet by Shakesphere based on intense love

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often in his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed.

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.’


Satirical Poetry

Satirical poems are based on satires, aimed at reflecting social criticism via shaming individuals, institutions or the society itself with the motive of creating a change or improvement. Satirical poems are witty and humorous, featured with literary elements like puns, sarcasm, irony, exaggeration, burlesque and many more.

To a Young Lady by John Trunbull

In vain, fair Maid, you ask in vain,

My pen should try th’ advent’rous strain,

And following truth’s unalter’d law,

Attempt your character to draw.


I own indeed, that generous mind

That weeps the woes of human kind,

That heart by friendship’s charms inspired,

That soul with sprightly fancy fired,

The air of life, the vivid eye,

The flowing wit, the keen reply–

To paint these beauties as they shine,

Might ask a nobler pen than mine

Elegy Poetry

This genre consists of sad, mournful and melancholy poems. It is basically a reflection of sorrowful feelings or mysterious and strange ideas from the poet’s point of view. Elegy poems are generally written as a lament of the dead. It evokes the feeling of grief in the readers’ mind. Love, loss, battle and death are the central theme of this genre.


O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman


O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

                     But O heart! heart! heart!

                        O the bleeding drops of red,

                           Where on the deck my Captain lies,

                              Fallen cold and dead.



Light Poetry

Light poems have humours at their heart. Contradictory to its tone, light poems can be written about frivolous and serious issues or subjects. Light poems are characterised by puns, satires, wit and sophistication in their verses. The subject matter of Light poem can vary from petty celebrations in daily life to scrutinizing the elements of society.

Night of the Long Spoons by Julia Griffin

Though Britain’s head’s beleaguered head

Is fraught with loony tunes,

It soon may entertain instead

The lord of bending spoons:

Inside Theresa’s bludgeoned mind,

That dark and groaning cellar,

She’s scheduled presently to find

The words of Uri Geller.


So, now that you know of various genres of poetry, see if you can identify the genre for this one or the poet for that matter 😉

I started Early – Took my Dog –

And visited the Sea –

The Mermaids in the Basement

Came out to look at me –

And Frigates – in the Upper Floor

Extended Hempen Hands –

Presuming Me to be a Mouse –

Aground – opon the Sands –

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