Happy National Poetry Month! You heard right—it’s National Poetry Month and that means a full month of celebrating one of my favorite art forms! Before becoming such a big poetry lover, I didn’t even know there were so many different types of poetry. I had kind of written poetry off as “boring” or “not for me” because the poetry I had come across in books or movies, or even in class, didn’t interest me. You might be in the same position. So in an effort to change your mind and maybe sway you to the dark side, I’ve put together a list of just a few different types of poetry. Maybe you’ll find something you like.
Love poems are a big part of the poetry world—or maybe just the part of the world I’ve chosen to reside in. Regardless, you really can’t get away with not reading a couple of love poems here and there. If you’re not crazy interested in reading about people falling in love, consider that love poems aren’t just about the sappy parts of being in a romantic relationship. Sometimes, love poems explore the comfortable love shared between partners of many years or the love someone finds within themselves after losing a relationship. Love poems could be about the beauty of friendship or the love parents have for their children. And let’s not forget breakup poems—or even breakup songs, because I do consider the lyrics of a song to count as a kind of poetry. Bring me all that Taylor Swift.
For the traditional and passionate love poem, I suggest checking out Pablo Neruda’s Cien Sonetos de Amor (or One Hundred Love Sonnets). I also like A Quiet World by Jeffrey McDaniel and Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara—both of which are written in a narrative format, so it feels a little like you’re reading a story instead of trying to navigate the stresses of lines and stanzas. A Time to Talk by Robert Frost is quite good for friendship, as is Alone by Maya Angelou. And of course, COFFEE CUPS by Samantha Sabio isn’t half bad…
“Old English” Poetry
While this type of poetry is often categorized as boring, there are a lot of poems written in that Old English verse that aren’t all that bad. Take William Shakespeare’s sonnets for example:
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:
This poem is one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets, and it isn’t hard to understand why. The message is fairly straightforward and this excerpt, as well as the rest of the poem, really highlight the imagery Shakespeare paints between the object of his affection and a summer’s day.
Shakespeare’s a really good guy to start out with for “older” poems. Take a look at Robert Frost and his popular The Road Not Taken or Emily Dickinson and her poem Hope is the thing with feathers. Both of these poems are beloved by literary analysts, but despite that, they yield such great and easy-to-understand messages. Plus, the way Frost and Dickinson write really exemplifies their talents.
Think haiku-length poetry. Like perhaps the works of Matsuo Basho, widely considered as one of, if not the, greatest haiku poets. One of my favorites by him is The Old Pond Poem. It’s quite fascinating that with this poem and many others like this, the poet is able to paint a vivid picture and evoke a strong emotion is just a few lines.
Haikus are not the only “short” poems out there. Being a fairly verbose writer, I think any poem written in less than fifty words can be considered short. I see a lot of this from Rupi Kaur, who is quite the modern-day poet:
it is possible
to hate and love
at the same time
i do it to myself
The Sun and Her Flowers
Sometimes nineteen words is all you need.
Spoken Word Poetry
I’ve talked so much about spoken word poetry on here that I know a lot of you are probably so tired of hearing about it—sorry! But genuinely, I am in love with performance poetry. There is something special about seeing a poet—or any type of writer for that matter—read their work out loud. I think it gives you the most personal look at their work, how they imagined the words before they even made it onto the page. Some of my favorite spoken word poets are Sarah Kay, Rudy Francisco, Sabrina Benaim, and Emtihal Mahmoud. Of course, there are so many more, but looking up these few will certainly open doors to others.
This is a type of poetry I’ve only recently started getting into—like in the last two weeks recently. It’s essentially poetry that is made from taking a magazine article or newspaper story and blacking out words with a marker or sharpie to create an entirely new piece of work. I think it’s a great way to recycle something that maybe wasn’t originally made with a creative eye. It’s great practice as well for those who want to try poetry or creative writing, but don’t really feel too comfortable writing their own words just yet. I may or may not be sharing a blackout poem with you later this month…
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The poets mentioned are definitely just a dip into the pool of poetry that has inspired my work and love for the art. Who are some of your poetry inspirations? Share with me some of your favorite poems—I’d love the reading material!
In case you haven’t heard, in celebration of National Poetry Month, I’m going to be sharing a brand new poem with you every Monday for the rest of this month! So exciting! To catch up on all the poetry I’ve already released on the blog, make sure to check the Poetry tab in the menu!