What is Poetry? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is Poetry?
  • 0:38 Why Does Poetry Matter?
  • 1:24 What Makes a Poem?
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Trenton Judson

Trenton is an assistant English professor with a Master's degree in English.

Poetry is one of the most interesting ways in which we use language. In this lesson, learn about what poetry actually is and what features can make a poem.

What Is Poetry?

''Roses are red and violets are blue….''

''I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.''

''But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.''

You probably have heard at least one of these or something like it. These are all considered parts of poems. The first comes from a nursery rhyme, the second is from William Henley, and the third comes from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. But what is poetry? And why should we care about it?

Why Does Poetry Matter?

Poetry has been a part of human history since before we could even write things down. Oral traditions of poetry that had rhyme, for instance, helped early civilizations memorize epic poems and histories.

Poetry is a way to elevate language by using words and sounds to express powerful ideas and images. Have you ever heard the expression ''get more bang for your buck''? Or ''do a lot with a little''? That's what poetry does for language. It does a lot with a little.

A poem is a snapshot of a feeling, the same way you might use Snapchat to capture a picture or video of a moment that you really like. Often people write poetry to express deep emotions like love or admiration or to purge feelings of loneliness or depression.

What Makes a Poem?

Poetry is a type of language that uses form. Form in poetry can be structure, meter, rhyme, topic, or an established pattern. You've probably heard the words rhyme, pattern, and topic before, but we'll cover them briefly again and explore some of the other terms you might not be familiar with.

Structure is how a poem looks on a page. A poem could be long or short. It can also have long lines or short lines. It all depends on what mood the poet wants his or her readers to experience. Because of poetry's structure, it can help you feel happy, sad, excited, thoughtful, or even spiritual.

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