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The Three Types of Poetry

Poetry throughout history has always been divided in some form. Today, there are hundreds of forms developed around the world with each culture and region specializing in its own version of the craft. However, we are still able to put poetry into non-specific genres due to their overall themes. Poetry enthusiasts today divide the craft into three main topics: lyric, narrative, and dramatic.

Little is known about literature in the ancient past. However, we do know that poetry has existed for thousands of years.shel silverstein poems We also have records showing the overall themes of such writings. In Ancient Greece, for instance , we all know that poetry was divided into three main sorts of poetry by the good philosopher Aristotle; they were comedy, tragedy, and epic. He claimed comedy was simply an imitation of what is inferior and possibly laughable. He claimed the opposite two, tragedy and epic, were similar therein they both portray suffering and produce effects and emotions in their readers. The only difference between the 2 was epic was said to be a 1 verse poem while tragedy was in narrative form.


Today, poetry and literature scholars believe that poetry does indeed contain three main genres. However, the three are referred to as lyric, narrative, and dramatic, not comedy, tragedy, and epic. Each of those genres can then be saturated with sub-genres then sub-sub-genres counting on the rhyme scheme, rhythm, meters, style, and even emotion.

Lyric poetry are poems focused on thought and emotion. The poems may be songs—and songs may be any other genre. The main sub-divisions include elegy, ode, and sonnet. Lyric poetry does not tell a story. Major lyric poems include “Go, Lovely Rose” by Sappho and Shakespeare’s Sonnets.


Narrative poetry may be a poem which tells a story. Most commonly, the stories involve heroic events or are of cultural or national (or some degrees even local) importance. Subdivisions of narrative poetry include ballads and epics. “The Divine Comedy” by Dante, “Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “Odyssey” by Homer are just a couple of of the main narrative pieces.

Dramatic poetry is written in verse that’s meant to be spoken. It generally tells a story, but can also simply portray a situation. The majority of dramatic poetry is written in poem . The authors Marlowe , Jonson , and Shakespeare have all written important dramatic works.


Although there are three main sorts of poetry, each are often divided into hundreds, possibly even thousands of genres. If you haven’t found one you enjoy, chances are you will, just keep looking!

Gary R. Hess is the author of Poetic Night, a poetry book about the trials and tribulations of a young American from rural Kansas. Check out his blog at Bright Dreams Journal

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