Which Book Is Not Considered A Book Of Poetry

Many readers may be unfamiliar with the term ‘book of poetry’, which is an umbrella of various genres of verse. Books of poetry are collections of writings that range from blank verse to imitative works, to examples of lyric poetry, to variation of other forms. But certain books are not considered ‘books of poetry’, and often considered literature rather than poetry. Such classics as ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J D Salinger, or ‘Moby Dick’ by Herman Melville for example, hold a prominent place in literature, but strictly speaking, they are not poetry.

Poetry is a type of writing that uses rhyme, rhythm and figurative language to express emotions, thoughts and ideas. Literary works characterized as ‘poetry’ may include a variety of different structures. Blank verse, which is composed of lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter, is the most commonly seen poetic structure used in the classic English literature. Other examples of verse forms used in writing poetry include ottava rima and sestina.

Poetry is often associated with oft-repeated, conventional forms and its more lyrical and musing style. However, we also see elements of poetry showing up in books that are not strictly considered to be poetry. For example, poetic language is often used in the great Bible, by authors such as King David and even Jesus.

But, the common form of poetry used in literature is lyrical poems, those with rhyme and meter, or, in some cases, free verse, which has a more informal structure. Authors of lyrical, free verse and blank verse are mainly considered poets, as opposed to authors of books. Most of the literary works of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens fall into these categories, even though their books are not considered to be books of poetry.

The language used in the books that are not technically considered to be poetry is not always poetic. It may sound more prosaic, more precisely written and more tied to the exact issues being discussed. However, when it is written in a way that adds more emotion and underlying intrigue to a text, it better qualifies as poetry.

If the books we read don’t have the same rhyme and meter as traditional poetry, they contain other poetic characteristics. These can range from the use of musicality and evocative language, to a certain rhythm, pacing, and word choice. This can be seen in books like Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera”.

English professor and author Dr. Margaret Jull Costa explains that “the main difference between books of poetry, and literary works such as novels, is that they contain various poetic elements, rather than being composed entirely of poetry. In novels, authors use all kinds of forms, including different levels of discourse, imagery and allusions, in order to create a complete narrative.”

The Benefits of Not Considering Some Books as Poetry

So why does it matter if a book is not considered to be poetry? For one, this would mean that the reading public would not get to experience the full expression of the writer. For example, it may be hard to relate to the emotion of a character if the dialogue or descriptions are conveyed in a simple, straightforward style. As literature university professor and author John Dos Passos said, “a great writer needs to be able to convey emotion as well as ideas.” Adam Hopkins, a literature scholar, explains that “ when reading a work, the most rewarding experiences come when we forget that we are analyzing a book and instead, slip into the emotions of the characters’ situations. This is something that books of poetry can do much better.”

Elizabeth Leake, director of education at the Poetry Raft Learn, a poetry educational institution, further highlights the unique role that poetry plays in our lives. “Poetry offers us a way to express our deepest thoughts, our most sublime ideas, and our greatest loves and emotions, but why not give voice to all the unexpressed undertones and subtexts that exist in our literary works?” she says. “Books of poetry can offer us a way to move beyond the prosaic and discover a new depth in our reading.”

How Poetry Enhances the Reading Experience

When reading a book of poetry, the reader has the opportunity to reflect upon the ideas and emotions put forth by the author. This gives them the chance to understand the author’s voice better, as well as immerse themselves in the stories and characters being presented.

In addition to this, poetry is capable of inviting us to feel more deeply and think more broadly, even when reading a book that is not typically considered to be a book of poetry. We may find ourselves more drawn to a certain character or scene, or discover a new insight or interpretation about a theme. This can help readers to develop their own views about a work and the world, allowing them to grow in understanding and new perspectives.

As poet Michael Suares explains, “The real beauty of poetry is that it can make us feel something. We can take the poet’s writing as an investment we can always take back out of ourselves – a reflection of us, of our lives and our ways of thinking. In this way, readers can learn to appreciate subtle messages in literature, such as the hidden meaning in a certain sentence or the symbolism of a scene.”

The Appeal of Poetry

A collection of written verses has always been a source of inspiration. During ancient times, books of poetry were considered a source of knowledge, and even a means of understanding life’s purpose. In modern days, books of poetry symbolize a form of artistic expression and evoke emotion. They can open our minds to different perspectives and ideas, provide advice, or supply comfort.

Literature professor Vivienne Muller highlights the appeal of poetry by saying, “In poetry, we can find the clearest expression of the inexpressible, the hard to convey, or the mysterious. Whether it is to inspire, to inform, or to bring about joy, reading poetry can be a profound activity for the reader.” She goes on to say that “poetry can be an avenue for exploring the biggest and most complicated questions of life, as well as a way to access hidden and buried topics of personal and collective human experience.”

Most importantly, poetry can also be a joyous, comforting reminder of what it means to be alive and to be human. Reading poetry is not only a source of reflections, but it can also be a source of joy, wonder, and even emotional catharsis.

Is Poetry Becoming Lost Art?

Despite the powerful impact of books of poetry, it seems that many in the literary world, and outside of it, are losing interest in such genres. Fewer books are being published, and fewer people are reading them. Though there are popular writers of poetry, like Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy K. Smith who also serves as the United States Poet Laureate, it appears that the majority of people are content to only encounter poetry in their classrooms.

Younger generations are exposed to contemporary genres of literature such as fantasy or science fiction, or graphic novels, or e-books, with plot twists and cliffhangers. These are deemed more entertaining, and can be consumed faster and with more ease. Therefore, it’s ironic that such entertaining works can never match the emotional and introspective power of books of poetry.

However, there is hope. Local libraries, bookstores and organizations are taking an active role in promoting poetry. This can take the form of poetry clubs, open mic nights, and writing competitions. Organizations are creating platforms to boost the presence of poetry, like Instagram accounts, TV shows, and newspapers.

It seems that poetry still has a role to play, in the reading experience and in our understanding of the world. There is still hope for the future generation possibly, who may find solace in reading poems. And despite that fact that certain books are not considered to be books of poetry, there are many reasons why poetry should still play a large role in our reading experiences.

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.

Leave a Comment