Poetry is selfless chaotic dream, darkest desire of one’s soul. Poetry is yearning everything you want in the pit of oblivion. The very nature of poetry makes it nearly impossible to define & label it.
It has been defined in various ways by great poet, William Wordsworth “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquillity.”
Emily Dickinson, “If I read a book & it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry.”
T.S. Eliot, “Poetry is not turning loose emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not expression of personality, but an escape from personality.”
Thus, while the poets like Wordsworth & Dickinson laid emphasis on emotion in poetry, T.S. Eliot, on the other hand totally ruled out importance of emotions or feelings, or of all that personal in poetry.
Poetry may often generally be defined as an illusionary experience expressed through meaning, onomatopoeia, & rhythmic language choices to evoke a deep feeling. Its length may range from the three-line poems like Japanese haiku; to the book length like the epic.
Poetry is a literary art conceived out of life, belongs to life & exists for life.
The word Poem is taken from a Greek word ‘poesis’ meaning ‘conceiving’ or ‘creating’. It is believed that poetry is an art that predates the era before man started putting his words into writing. Many ancient works, from the Indian Vedas & Zoroaster’s Gathas to the Odyssey, appear to have been composed in poetic forms to aid memorisation & oral transmission. Poetry appears among the earliest records of most literate cultures, with poetic fragments found on early monoliths, stones & pillars.
The oldest surviving poems is the Epic of Gilgamesh, from 3rd millennium BC in Sumer (in Mesopotamia, now Iraq), which was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets & later on papyrus. Other ancient epic poetry includes the Greek epics Iliad & Odyssey, the old Iranian books the Gathic Avesta & Yasna, the Roman epic, Virgil’s Aeneid, & the Indian epics Ramayana & Mahabharat.