Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo


  • Christina Mengert
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1430

Related Terms


Poetry is a language art characterized by composition in lines, dense use of figurative language, and repetitions of sound and meter. The primary unit of meaning in a poem is generally considered the line and the secondary unit of meaning to be the stanza or strophe; poetry is thus distinguished from prose, in which the primary unit of meaning is the sentence, and the secondary unit, the paragraph (although the nineteenth and twentieth century has seen many examples of hybrid work, particularly the prose-poem, in which the primary unit of meaning is, in fact, the sentence).

The English word “poetry” derives etymologically from the Greek poiesis, which means “to make.” Aristotle used the term to refer to anything that is made, including practical tools as well as epics, calling that which is made “a productive science.” French Romantic poet Alphonse de Lamartine gives an exultant definition of poetry when he writes, “Like all that is...

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  1. Aristotle (1961). Poetics (trans: Telford, K.A.). Chicago: Henry Regnery and Company.Google Scholar
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  3. Foster, J. L. (1992). Echoes of Egyptian voices: An anthology of ancient Egyptian poetry. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
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  5. Johnson, W. R. (1983). The idea of lyric: Lyric modes in ancient and modern poetry. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  6. Mackail, J. W. (1911). Lectures on poetry. New York: Longmans, Green.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bard College, Prison Initiative ProgramKerhonksonUSA