What Isn’t Poetry

What isn’t poetry, is a question that has no simple answer. One of the main characteristics of poetry is its ability to evoke strong emotions in its readers. But not all written communication can be considered poetry. In general, works that fall under the category of “literature” are considered to be the furthest away from being considered poetry. Novels, short stories, drama, creative nonfiction, and even essays are not typically regarded as poetry. A common way to differentiate between these works and poetry is that prose typically works with a linear narrative, while poetry tends to work with ideas more abstractly.

In addition to literature, works such as journalistic writing and mundane everyday language are usually not seen as poetry. Journalism and other forms of non-fiction writing are used primarily to communicate facts, rather than evoke emotion. Additionally, everyday language used in daily conversation does not often contain the lyrical rhythm and imagery that is often associated with poetry.

However, some non-literary forms of communication are often called “poetry”. For instance, folk songs, spirituals, and hymns have an obvious lyrical quality that is often considered to be “poetic”. In fact, these works have been known to have an impact on culture and have even been used to fuel social changes.

Finally, although it is not as popular as it once was, some consider lyric writing to be a form of poetry. Lyric writing is the process by which a person writes the words to a song. Much like traditional poetry, lyricists often use vivid imagery, intricate rhyme schemes, and clever metaphors in order to tell stories and express emotions.


Poetry is an art form that has been around for thousands of years. It has played a role in literature, religion, and other forms of communication. One of the earliest examples of poetry can be found in the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian texts, which date back as far as 2000 BCE. These texts were often hymns and prayers that were written in verse form.

Ancient Greek and Roman cultures also had a rich tradition of lyric poetry. In fact, some of the best-known figures from this time period, such as Sappho and Catullus, were both lyric poets. In the Middle Ages, poetry became even more popular, with poets such as Geoffrey Chaucer and Dante writing some of the best-known works of the time.

During the Renaissance period, poetry continued to be popular. Writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, and John Milton are still well known today. These writers often used poetry to express their thoughts and feelings in a way that was not possible in other forms of writing.

In the modern age, poetry has remained an important part of the literary landscape. It is still used as a way to express feelings and communicate ideas, although it is now often seen as a less popular form of writing compared to other genres.


Poetry has had a profound influence on all forms of creative expression. Through its use of lyrical language and imagery, poetry has been able to capture the attention of audiences and evoke strong emotions. It has also been used to spread messages of social change, as well as express thoughts and feelings that cannot always be put into words.

The influence of poetry has been seen in various forms of music. In popular music, for instance, many musicians have used poetic lyrics to tell stories or express emotions. Classics such as Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” are both examples of this type of poetic songwriting.

In addition to music, poetry has also been influential in literature, theater, and visual art. Throughout history, it has been used as a way to express feelings, share stories, and communicate ideas. It is still used today in many forms of creative works and remains an important part of the modern artistic landscape.


The advantages of poetry are numerous. First and foremost, it can be an effective way to share thoughts and feelings that cannot be expressed through ordinary language. Its use of vivid imagery and lyrical devices can help to evoke strong emotions in its readers. Additionally, it can be used to spread messages of social change, as well as capture the attention of a wide variety of audiences.

Moreover, poetry can be used to tell stories, share ideas and experiences, and explain complex concepts. It can also be used to connect with people on a personal level, such as through love poems or expressions of sorrow and grief. Additionally, the use of language and lyrical devices can help to paint vivid pictures in the minds of readers, allowing them to better understand the poem.

Finally, poetry can be used as a tool for education. By studying the craft of poetry, students can learn about language, literature, and communication. Additionally, it can help them to develop an appreciation for the power of words and encourages them to become more aware of their own emotions.


Despite not being as popular as other forms of literature, poetry still serves an important role in our culture and can have a profound influence on those who read or write it. Its use of vivid imagery and lyrical expression can help to evoke strong emotions in its readers, as well as capture their attention and help them to better understand complex concepts. Additionally, it can be a tool for education and self-expression, allowing people to share stories and ideas, as well as connect with others on a personal level.

Ultimately, poetry can serve many different purposes and its influence can vary depending on the individual. For some, poetry can be an important form of self-expression, while for others it can serve an educational purpose. Regardless of why it is used, poetry remains an important part of the world of literature and will continue to be a part of our culture for many years to come.


The use of various poetic techniques can help to create a more effective piece of writing. The most common techniques include metaphor, simile, alliteration, rhyme, assonance, and other sound devices. These techniques can help to make the poem more vivid and engaging for the reader, as well as add an additional layer of meaning. Additionally, the use of these techniques can help to create an emotional resonance with the reader, allowing them to better understand the poem and the message that it is trying to convey.

In addition to these techniques, poets can also use different structures and forms in their work. Common forms include sonnets, haikus, villanelles, and epics. Different forms can help to add variety and interest to the poem, as well as make it easier for readers to follow. Certain forms, such as the sonnet, can also be used to effectively tell stories or express emotions.

Finally, poets can also use language to their advantage. By carefully selecting words and phrases, they can evoke a certain mood or feeling, as well as create a more vivid image in the mind of the reader. Poets can also use language to emphasize certain elements of the poem and create a sense of rhythm or flow.


At its core, poetry is a form of creative expression that can evoke strong emotions in its readers and capture their attention. It has been used throughout history to share stories, express emotions, and spread messages of social change. While there are many other forms of communication that are not considered to be poetry, its impact and influence should not be underestimated. Through its use of language and poetic devices, poetry can be a powerful tool for self-expression and can have a profound impact on those who read or write it.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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