Types of Poetry and Explanation

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  1. Song or song-lyrics– these are poem which have been set to be music. Williams Blake (1757-1827) wrote “song of innocence” and “song of experience “. A modern Nigeria poet who strive  to write song-lyrics is Niyi osuade, particularly his adolescentpoems meant for those in primary and secondary school. There are also “The song of lawino (1969) and song of ocol (1970) by okotp’Bitek
  2. Narrative poem– it is a poem that tells story/tale. Example are john Milton’s Paradise lost (1667)and s.t Coleridge THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER (1861)
  3. Ode– it is a meditative poem which addresses itself to a person or thing in which the good qualities of such a person or object are highlighted and commended. Examples are Williams Wordsworth’s “ode to duty”, john keats’ ” ode on a Grecian urn”, etc.
  4. Pastoral poem– it is a poem which describes the simple life of rural people, especially of Shepherd, around whom are beauty, love, music and values which remains for ever green in the mind. This is opposed to the city life with hustle and bustles, as well as artificial life style in which ancient values are no longer respected. A pastoral poem may also be called an eclogue, “bucolic or an idyl.” An example is W.B yeats’ ” lake isle of innisfree” (1892)
  5. Pastoral Elegy–  Apastostoral elegy lament the fate of the Shepherd who may not necessarily herd sheep. An example is Jon Milton’s “lycidas” (1637) written about friend, Edward king (lycidas), who chose to become a priest and as such is a Shepherd of a kind, another example is Thomas Gray’s elegy in a” country churchyard” (1751)
  6. Ballad– this is an anonymous narrative in verse passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth and meant to be sung and danced to before a crowd. Its subject often comes from tragedy and event such as sudden death by accident, treachery against a friend in love or war or during hunting expeditions. The stanza of ballad are often short and concise. Examples include William Wordsworth’s “the idiot boy” and A.E Houseman’s “hell gate.”
  7. Sonnet–  a sonnet is a fourteen-line poem whose rhythmic scheme is iambic pentameter, each line of fourteen lines bears five alternative beats of an unstressed syllable follows immediately by unstressed one.e.g “shall I compare thee to a Summer night” Williams Shakespeare
  8. Epic– it is a long narrative poem that celebrate real historical events, heroic achievements, heroic figure civilization, quasi-divine figure and such other subjects. It is usually written in elevated language and style .sometimes it features supernatural characters. Example are are Homer’s Iliad and Milton’s Paradise.
  9. Limerick– it is an unserious short five line poem with rhyme scheme aabba.
  10. Lullaby– A poem compose for children with view to making them sleep. Many lullabies for rocking babies exist traditional African society.
  11. Panegyric– this poem meant eulogize the heroic deeds or attributes of an individual or a group. It is a type of traditional African poetry. It may even be in  praise of animals or any other entity with outstanding attributes, whether negative or positive.
  12. Dirge – it is poem used to express grief on the occasions of someone’s e.g Kofi awoonor’s ” song of sorrow”.
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